Friday, January 30, 2015

Engage With Visionary Customers, Not Technology Enthusiasts

By Christian Dahlen & Oana Olteanu

In an early market, two types of customers often come through the door at the same time: The innovative technology enthusiasts, and the visionary early adopters.

Technology enthusiasts are always looking for state-of-the-art technology and are the gatekeepers to get to the visionaries. The challenge is that they may want to modify the innovation and invest more in new functions to address their specific needs, without regard to what the market wants or needs.

On the other hand, the visionaries see the value for their organization and have the financial means to pay for the solution: They feel the same pain as the general population, but with more intensity. These industry revolutionaries are looking for a breakthrough application that will give them a competitive business advantage. They exaggerate the value, but they can teach the value all the way down the line. Their importance lies in their ability to fund development as well as publicize it within an industry. The benefit for these visionaries is that they quickly get a solution to their problem.

The product owner needs to identify early visionary customers based on the characteristics of early adopters and the different personas. These early adopters can be found in the offline and online forums and communities of the relevant target market segments. Selecting the segments with the highest pain points is a good starter, and events for these segments are often a good way to demo a minimum viable product to identify initial  customers.

Read next: How many customers to talk to.

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