To give yourself the best chance at success, you have to be able to develop your product to meet the needs your of your ideal or model customer.  And when you know who your ideal customer is, you’ll be able to figure out the answers to these very important questions to help you target your consumer base. Here are the top five questions an inventor should be able to answer about their ideal customer:

  1. Who will buy this?
  2. What are they looking for/ used to buying?
  3. When will they buy this?
  4. Where will they buy/ look for this?
  5. Why will they want this above anything else?

Warning: Many smart people either don’t ask themselves these questions or unrealistically answer them before moving forward with their idea.  Here’s an example showing you the path a lot of inventors go down.

Example Product: Asparagus Magic: an easy way to cut chop and store asparagus

Who will buy this ?  Answer inventor instinctively gives: Everyone!

Real Life: Sorry, everyone is ALWAYS the wrong answer!!!!  Would people that hate asparagus consider buying Asparagus Magic? Probably not. See how easy it is to take Everyone out of the equation?

Getting Real

Realistically defining your ideal customer is part of a keen proven process of making products that have the best chance at success and helps you better get useful insights during the “Testing Your Assumption” phase of product development.

Like scientists using different tests and measurements to see if their theories are valid, inventors must do the same with their inventions. And to get real results, you have to have the courage to ask the hard questions and answer them truthfully.

Define Your Real Customer – Getting Started

You Must Know This: More is Not Always Better. While it is good to get in front of as many people as you can if you have a mass market idea, more often than not inventors have a specialty item for a specialty market.

To avoid developing a product no one will ever want, you have to define your realistic customer profile.  Don’t be scared, it’s not as difficult as it seems. Let’s get you started.

What are the general traits of someone:

  1. Who buys competitive products that look like this at this price?
  2. Who has bought this from me or would consider buying this from me?
  3. Who is someone who has a problem this could solve?

Product developers have to face reality that the market is segmented: by class; financial status; access to tech and awareness; geography; social idealism, etc. If you don’t take all of these factors into consideration it is impossible to model the perfect (realistic) customer for your product. Really go into some detail when answering these questions, what are they like?  Examples of general traits you should be considering: aesthetics (old, young, fat, skinny), education level (basic or higher), financial status (wealthy, poor), life situation (where do they live, what kind of work day do they have, what do they drive, married, have kids, what hobbies and interests), emotional makeup (anxious or relaxed).

Once you’ve finished this exercise, you’ve just built your realistic customer profile! Congratulations!!  Now you’ve really defined WHO WILL BUY YOUR PRODUCT!

Next Steps – Targeting Your Audience

To get you ready for the next step in the process, take your ideal customer profile and think of a few people you already know that match your customer model. Now you’ve personalized your WHO and you’re ready to do some market testing!

In one of my upcoming articles we will focus on how this data actually plays into finding a targeted Facebook audience that will work for your product.

Ask the Experts and Share Your Results

Share your findings with us at the UIA Facebook page. Our experts will chime in with feedback and advice to make sure you are ready for Step 2 in your product testing phase –  Quickly and Easily Marketing to Your Target Audience.

Stay tuned for more from the UIA education team! Remember we are rooting for you!

Lindsey Brooks