Need a better customer research approach? This is the interview to listen to. My guest has an impressive background in product management, having served in product manager roles at Apple, Intuit, and other companies before co-founding a company that solves an important problem for product managers—getting the voice of the customer in a timely and money-saving manner. The company is Digsite and its co-founder and CMO is Jane Boutelle.
In this interview Jane shares some of the problems product managers encounter when conducting and then sharing customer research data as well as how to improve these processes.
In this interview, you’ll learn:
- how customer research is often piecemeal
- the need to have a 360 understanding of customers, and
- ways to create an online customer community as an advisory board.
Practices and Ideas for Product Managers and Innovators
Summary of questions discussed:
- Since you co-founded a company dealing with the voice of the customer, let’s start with your experiences with market research and uncovering the voice of the customer. I was the first product manager at Intuit for Quickbooks. We used ethnography to better understand our customers in their own homes. It was called “follow-me-home” and I learned a lot in the process. However, in many organizations the consumer research work comes in little bits and pieces that doesn’t provide a cohesive picture and takes too long. Often what the last customer says is what is most heard. Also, many people in organizations don’t have the opportunity to get as close to customers as they want to. A window to accurately view the customer is needed.
- Your company, Digsite, must address some of these customer research issues – what problem was Digsite created to solve? It’s all about understanding customers, differences in market segments, their actual needs, how they are responding to your offerings and those of competitors… what really makes customers tick. We developed a custom system for creating online communities for consumer research that empowers companies to really know their customers.
- What are product managers at a medium to large-size companies likely missing in their approach to customer research? We are seeing a few things. Companies doing good ethnographic research find that it tends to be expensive and time consuming. Usability testing is frequently encountered and companies are using good online platforms for that, but in the process, they are missing a 360 degree view of customer – what really makes them tick. They need to move beyond usability testing to really understand consumers.
- What does customer research look like using Digsite? We create a community of customers for the product team and organization to learn from. We recruit customers for the community based on the product team’s objectives. It is essentially a little advisory team that the product team has access to throughout the product development project. Communities are typically 20-25 representative customers but can be up to 100 people. We conduct Digsite Sprints where a company can get critical feedback and insights in just a week.
- Product managers are always learning and I expect you have learned a lot as Digsite has grown – what is an insight about customer research you have discovered while at Digsite? We really need to make sure that we’re thinking about research, not as an end, but as a real means to understand. It is important not to let the research process get in the way of what you’re trying to accomplish. The thing that I’ve seen at Digsite is that we can give an organization a research capability that aligns with their business needs and answers the questions they need to ask about their customers.
- Special Digsite innovation resources + $250 discount when you do a Digsite sprint – just go to www.Digsite.com/innovation
- Digsite blog with helpful consumer research case studies and examples
- Jane’s LinkedIn profile
“There is no elevator to success. You have to take the stairs.” – Zig Ziglar
Listen Now to the Interview
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