Category Archives: Customers

The Human Using Your Product

When I was 14 years old my mother cut out an advertisement from the Indianapolis Star. They were looking for kids who could write and who had some personality. Miraculously, I was invited to join the mass interview.

I never will forget that first day. There were over 150 kids and they were far more experienced. Some had been published. Some were going off to college. A couple of kids were editors of their high school newspaper. I thought my writing was decent but wasn’t sure it would pass their tests. In the end they choose 12 kids.

Apparently, they liked my writing. I was surprised when they called me for a second interview and eventually hired me. Turns out they were looking for raw talent. They were looking for something else too. They wanted someone who could put themselves in someone else’s shoes.

Mind you, I had written about my love affair with tennis. I wrote what it must be like for a baseliner to play on grass courts. (True tennis buffs out there will completely understand why knowing your surface can make or destroy your game).

Anyway, a lot of the kids wrote big essays with flowery words. And mine was really simple. If we haven’t met then I can assure you I am not a ‘flowery person’. Practical and down to earth are my speeds.

Not your shoes?

Putting yourselves in someone else’s shoes. Yes, it’s a cliché. But think about it from a product point of view. If you produce a product (documentary, website, interview) with the end user in mind, you’ll be successful.

Everything you do should be with the end user in mind. And guess what- that precious ROI (Return on Investment) will be there too.

Sure, it takes a fair amount of risk- financially, creatively and you have to keep pushing yourself.

Think about your own decisions when it comes to design and development. Are you thinking how your end user and your audience will use your product? Are you doing so at every stage of the product’s development? If not, begin thinking how your product is being used.

Your client will appreciate it and so will their end users.

Johann Lohrmann
The Useful Research Blog | Effective research that you can use.
https://johannlohrmann.wordpress.com/
http://johannlohrmann.com/

Interested in learning more about Defining Personas? Check out these sites.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persona_%28marketing%29
http://www.slideshare.net/kadoch/defining-personas-a-user-experience-approach
http://www.slideshare.net/guest60e6aa1/business-analyst-role-in-developing-successful-user-experience

Keywords: Business Analysis, Defining Personas, Analyzing Data, Goals and Objectives

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Filed under business, business analysis, Customers, goals, Marketing, Strategy

Understand the Role of Research in a Product Launch. Or Fail.

Companies today are hungry for cash. For the small business owner payroll is at risk. Medium to large sized organizations are closely watching new industry products. Remaining competitive is a must.

You, as a business owner want to find solutions.  Your creditability, livelihood and future depend on it. Here are 4 key ideas that will guarantee your new product launch will fail- and what you can do to make sure that it doesn’t.

1. Guaranteed Failure: Not having a process in place, written down and explained to the team members.

Process

Process


If you don’t have a fully tested and robust process in place, then you will not be successful. Your team will be confused and you’ll end up treading water. Expectations and the understanding of how part A works with part C are lost. In the end, you’ll lose money, credibility and clients. Oh, and your team will think you’ve lost your marbles.

Simple Solution: Put a flowsheet together and document the process.

2. Guaranteed Failure: Falling in love with the technology too quickly.

Sweet Technology

Sweet Technology

 

It’s the latest! It’s the greatest! It will solve this problem that we have- or one that we think we have!

Stop and carefully think about the software that’s sitting in front of you. Does it address an actual documented need or an imaginary one? Just because someone builds it does not mean you need to come visit.

Simple Solution: Perform a SWOT analysis on the product that this software is supposed to ‘fix’. While you’re at it perform a SWOT analysis on the software itself. If you decide to proceed look at what else is on the marketplace and compare the tools.

3. Guaranteed Failure: Deploying another company’s beta system and charging your clients for it.

Would you sell beta?

Would you sell beta?


As a researcher, I test information. Depending on the scope of the project, I will conduct a variety of tests. Different stages of research demand different types of attention. Now, I may want to play around with a tool to see how it works. But, I will not deploy (ever) someone else’s beta tool and charge my clients for it.

For starters, beta testing is to identify problems on an external level. You’re the guinea pig.  If your client’s information is lost then you have to fix it. When a company doesn’t deliver on a promise then you can bet that bad news will travel fast.

Sell beta and you’ll lose time, money, effort and your good reputation.

Simple Solution: Don’t leave yourself at the mercy of the developer. Test internally if you must use a beta system. Establish strict parameters around doing. Limit your risk by not offering it as a billable service to the client.

4.Guaranteed Failure: Not communicating with your information technology team.

The Team. Your Company's Lifeline.

The Team. Your Company's Lifeline.


When you don’t communicate with your team you create blind spots. Blind spots are detrimental to a company as they impact morale, problem solving and creativity. When information is withheld the information technology team is left with a guessing game.

When you don’t talk to your technical team, you miss their expertise and their ability to solve complex problems. Their feedback early on could identify potential costly problems after deployment.

Simple Solution: Talk to your information technology team and ask them to provide feedback throughout the process.

Think about your Road to Success.

Do you have a map?

Do you have a map?


I’ve given you a few solutions. Now, here’s where you use solid planning throughout the project to meet your goals.

A. Approach the project launch with the end in mind. Doing this provides a roadmap on what you need to do to get to your goal- your X marks the spot.

B. Understand how the new tool fits into the company’s core products. If you’re a television company it makes little sense for you to add a financial tool kit as a stand-alone. Know the product and be aware of how it interacts with other products already in place.

C. Think how your client’s and your team will use this tool on a regular basis. Imagine your client is sitting at this desk. How does he move through the product? What happens when he gets an error message? Do the same internally. Approach the product from a multiple user perspective.

Johann Lohrmann
Director of Research
Bringing Research to Life for Businesses

johannlohrmann(at)gmail.com
http://www.linkedin.com/in/johannlohrmann
http://twitter.com/proresearch
http://www.atlantamediaresearch.com/

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Filed under Balance, Career, creativity, Customers, imagination, industries, LinkedIn, Research, Strategy, technology

Mythdom & Kool-Aid

In the Land of Mythdom….

There is a popular notion that if you help people tell their story that they will want to do business with you. Storytelling and engaging customers are buzzwords of the day. There is a problem. What if your customers don’t respond to the latest catchphrases or shibboleths? What if your customers don’t want the Kool-Aid you’re selling?

Not all clients are the same. Some clients are more responsive and willing to trust your expertise. But other clients need to know why your expertise is important and how it can help them.

Get to know your clients. Listen to them and ask questions.

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Filed under Career, Customers, Lesson, Marketing, SEO, Strategy

Three Questions to ask for Better (and more humane) Networking

Today has been a rather fascinating day. Imagine attending a Business Broker lecture. What would you expect to see? Who would you expect to meet? Well, I met an interesting fellow who shares my passion for technology. It came about by asking personal questions that are beyond the standard questions.

Standard Questions: (Begin Yawn)

  1. What company are you with?
  2. What do you do?
  3. How long have you been in business?

The problem with this Q/A system is that these questions do not take into account the person. The questions are business centered and frankly, I want to do business with people I know. Yes, you may have a fascinating industry, but I want to move beyond the industry.

So, what are some better questions to ask?

Personal Questions: (Cue Enthusiasm)

  1. What led you into getting the real-estate industry.
  2. What do you enjoy about your current profession. Specifically, what do you enjoy about the real-estate industry?
  3. What is your biggest challenge?

Think about how you engage others. Is it personal or are you simply interested in your next lead?

Johann Lohrmann

www.johannlohrmann.com
Digital Product Manager

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Filed under Atlanta, Balance, business, Career, creativity, curiosity, Customers, imagination, LinkedIn, networking, story, Strategy, technology

Customers. Customers. Customers.

Chef Gordon Ramsay is the celebrity chef judge on the popular TV show, Hell’s Kitchen. Hell’s Kitchen is a cooking competition show. He’s no stranger to television and in fact his Kitchen Nightmares series has proven to be exceptionally popular throughout the UK and the US.

Kitchen Nightmares features Chef Ramsay’s visit to mom and pop type restaurants and pubs. These restaurants are on the verge of collapse. At stake are businesses, livelihoods and even the risk of losing a home. Everything is on the line. Chef Ramsay speaks to the owners and reminds them of what it means to serve others. Most of the folks listen. Some don’t.

One gentleman owner is having a particularly hard time understanding what Chef Ramsay wants to accomplish. The gentleman is stubborn. And then three magic words are uttered. Customers. Customers. Customers.

Customers always come first. Before anything else. They are your bread and butter. They put money in your pocket and can take it out just as quickly. Every action, every thought should be from the perspective of the customer. The question that needs to be asked is, ‘how will this benefit our customers?’

Chef Ramsay understands that customers improve your business. They make you better. They make you stronger. They are not here to annoy you. You are here to serve them. A company exists to serve others. Something amazing happens when service becomes a priority. Egos are left at the door. Productivity increases, as do the profits. Customers. Customers. Customers.

Johann Lohrmann

9 July 2008 ©

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Filed under business, Chef Ramsay, Customers, Marketing