Apr 28, 2014

5 attributes of a Minimum Wow Product


In an earlier post, I briefly touched upon what goes into a MWP (Minimum Wow Product). There are a few aspects which I want to detail out to provide more clarity.

I believe there are 5 attributes that are a MUST for a MWP before it is launched.

1) End-to-end experience
The product's promise of solving a particular problem for the user should provide a complete experience. The user shouldn't feel that there is something broken in the whole flow. Take the core feature and ensure you think through the flow step-by-step from a user point of view. For example, a content publishing product should not only support composing, editing and publishing the content but also support social sharing.

2) Unexpected surprise
This is where the "WOW" factor comes in. As you talk to more potential users and gather enough insights about the problem, you will get an idea of what the users' expectations are. Brainstorm possible ways by which you can exceed the expectations. Think through other factors which users would have least expected but are bound to delight them. The "excitement" attributes of Kano model talks about this unexpected delight.

"The beauty behind an excitement attribute is to spur a potential consumers’ imagination".

Instagram was positioned as an app to click and share photos with friends but the various filters that enhance the quality of the pictures provide the surprise factor for the user.

3) High quality
The core functionality that's part of MWP should be free of bugs that users can easily spot. The product should work as expected, without any glitch. App crashes, NullPointerExceptions, Internal Server Errors - all have the potential to stop "new users" converting to "returning users".

The other important factor that many products overlook is the quality of the content/copy - spelling errors, grammatical mistakes, punctuation etc. It's a big turn-off for me and am sure for many users as well. It gives a feeling that you don't care about the details.

4) Analytics
Having been a fan of quantitative insights all along, I have noticed that enabling analytics has always been given a low priority and until enough follow-ups are done, this activity doesn't get the required attention. My firm belief is that any launch irrespective of the size of the audience MUST have the required analytics enabled.

"If you don't measure, you can't manage". This is even more important in the case of a MWP where you want to *validate* your idea/hypotheses with actual users. Validation cannot happen without gathering insights about usage. So do ensure you invest some time and effort in getting the instrumentation of analytics code right, setup third party analytics either through Google analytics, Flurry or other tools that you might find useful.

5) Feedback
Qualitative insights are equally important too and your users should have a quick and easy way to share their feedback or concerns if any. If you are developing a mobile app, please make sure there is an in-app feedback integration rather than through email clients. It also makes sense to let the user share their issues within the app rather than through app store reviews.

Is there anything else you would like to add to this list? Do let me know.

Apr 25, 2014

Why you should listen?


More of a rant but hoping it resonates with you too! So read on!

Over the years, I have realized that our listening abilities have deteriorated so much. One can observe this everywhere in the professional world - meeting rooms, one-on-one discussions and even social media conversations. Though we can attribute this change to our over-reliance on tech gadgets, something inherent in our human behavior has also changed. Is it lack of empathy? care? attention? I'm still searching for the right word.

Consider this scenario - a typical conference room with 4-5 people, trying to discuss a problem and take some important decision.

X decides to talk, he shares his point of view and elaborates for 2 minutes.
Then X turns towards a peer/senior (Y) and asks, "so what do you think?".
Y was lost in his own world, fiddling with his smartphone or looking at his laptop.
He lifts his head and says, "Oh I'm sorry, I got lost. Can you repeat what you were saying?"

Which one of these two characters reflect you the most? :-)

I have been at the receiving end (X) multiple times in my previous workplaces and frankly, I find it irritating and insensitive. I don't want to reason it out saying I'm a woman or I have a soft voice. The basic rule in any conversation is "If you talk, others listen; if others talk, you listen". It's as simple as that.

Because of such distractions in meetings, same points get discussed over and over. The timings get extended, no conclusion or decision gets made. Follow-up meetings are scheduled.

I always wonder how much man-hours would be saved if people are attentive in meetings and stick to the scheduled times. I wish for a solution that would switch off mobile phones automatically when you enter a meeting room. Or even have someone to collect your phones and hand them over only after the meeting is finished :-)

If this is the case for in-person meetings, I can't even imagine what happens behind the scenes in a remote conference call.

My suggestion - keep all distracting devices in your cubicles. If you *must* use a laptop for the meeting, then close all other applications that you don't need. Bring a notebook and a pen. Listen keenly to what the other person is saying. It shouldn't matter if the person has an American accent or not.

Hoping the following criteria to grab attention changes soon!


Why you should listen?

“We have two ears and one mouth, so we should listen more than we say.”

Active listening can help you in multiple ways.

1) Believe it or not, you hear different perspectives, especially in discussions where you are brainstorming about various options. It helps to broaden your views and get a feel of how others perceive the problem.

2) A number of ideas come your way when you listen. A brilliant idea is nothing but a spark or a fresh change in your perspective - getting to the "aha" moment which was alluding you

3) If others notice that you listen, it helps a great deal in building trust. People open upto you and share their feelings.

4) When you do take the time to listen, try to imbibe all the information coming your way before you judge or criticize. Don't jump to conclusions immediately.

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”
- Stephen Covey


This can also help you in your own problem-solving abilities. Read "six thinking hats" by Edward de Bono where he prescribes an interesting model for individual and group problem solving with a conscious effort to listen without judgment.

Leaving you with a few quotes I like related to listening.

“It takes a great man to be a good listener.”
- Calvin Coolidge
“Most of the successful people I’ve known are the ones who do more listening than talking.”
- Bernard M Baruch
“The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them.”
- Ralph G Nichols

Apr 24, 2014

The "user engagement" challenge

Ask any product manager about one of the crucial challenges he/she is looking into, especially those who drive consumer web products/apps. Most of the answers would be centered around "increasing user engagement".

How many users are coming back to your product/app? How many users are so happy with your product that they are voluntarily inviting their friends to join in too? User engagement is a factor of retention rate and referrals.

In an earlier post, I had shared a couple of techniques by which user retention could be measured. In this post, I would like to expand further on insights to be derived related to engagement.

Josh Elman, who worked with Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn has shared some interesting perspectives on how his team went about driving growth in these organizations, especially in Twitter. He differentiates between visitors and regulars and how it is important for any business to increase the regulars to their product.

"If all you have is visitors, and not enough regulars, you're a leaky bucket. Leaky buckets don't win. "

To understand what regulars do that are different from visitors, we need to deep-dive into the data and ask these questions on regulars - the users who you define as "active"
- How frequently do regulars return to the product - everyday, once in 2 days, once in a week etc?
- What features do they use more frequently and less frequently?
- Are there any patterns in the time and duration of usage?
- What is the size of their social circle? (If the product is social)
- How do they engage with you outside-the-app? Are they interested in your other communications (emails, notifications)?
- What is the profile of these regular users and how different are they from the rest of the users?

Apart from these, I also find Josh's tip on finding the "ah-ha" moment very useful.

"To fix leaky buckets, one power move is to look for the AH-HA moment…. our AH-HA moment in Twitter was "Once a user follows 30 people, they're more or less active forever." Once you have AH-HA moment, focus your UX to encourage as many people to reach the AH-HA moment as possible! So you got to figure out the ah-ha moment. How to find it? Look for the regulars active users, then find their patterns."

We used a similar technique for a product to figure out the X number of days after which a user becomes a consistent regular. The next steps were to ensure the visitors keep coming back to the product for atleast that X number of days.

Insights should lead you somewhere. Give me access to the database, Excel and a notepad. I would happily sit for hours, querying, dissecting and trying to identify patterns of user engagement. But what I have learnt is that patterns can give you good insights which "need" to get incorporated as next steps in the product direction as soon as possible. There's no point in analyzing endlessly unless the insights are used as feedback to take the product to the next level. If the insights don't seem to provide concrete evidence, it's more productive to A/B test and see what works rather than debating endlessly and waiting for the perfect solution.

"Experiment, Make progress everyday" - that's the mantra I believe in, when it comes to figuring out what works to increase user engagement.

Apr 23, 2014

BJ Fogg model and its relevance in product planning


When I was working on a product that expects a behavior change from its users, I started digging into research work that has happened in this field. That's when I came across this new term named "captology" and related work happening in Stanford's persuasive technology lab.

Captology is the study of computers as persuasive technologies. This includes the design, research, and analysis of interactive computing products created for the purpose of changing people’s attitudes or behaviors.
Dr.BJ Fogg directs this lab and his model on behavior change is extremely useful to understand the elements required for a behavior to occur.

The three elements that need to converge at the same time for behavior (B) change to happen are
- Motivation (M)
- Perceived Ability (A)
- Appropriate trigger (T)


The equation of this model => B = MAT

When the motivation is sufficient and the user has the ability to perform the desired task, that specific moment is called the "activation threshold". A trigger that happens during this threshold will push users to undertake the task associated with behavior change.

You can check out this site to get more details on this model.

Gym membership patterns provide a good understanding of these elements in BJ Fogg model.

High on motivation => beginning of a new year
High on ability => you only need to make the payment to get started, there are no physical tests / acceptance criteria
Appropriate timed trigger => discounts and promotion campaigns across different media, focusing on a new "you"

If your product requires behavior change or into habit formation, I highly recommend this model.

A simple way to incorporate this model into product planning exercise is the table below:


Map out every product feature into this grid, based on what the feature is intended to achieve :-
features already rolled out in "Past" column
features currently in progress in "Present" column
features in consideration set in "Future" column"

Identify where the maximum focus area is, in terms of your effort. Are you focusing more on the "triggers" in the form of automated emails and notifications? Are you making the effort needed by the user simpler?

What I have learnt is that increasing motivation is harder as compared to simplifying the effort required. So I would rather focus on making the target behavior very simple - by focusing on onboarding, time commitment and reducing the effort required.  

I came across a couple of quotes in this research paper that are also quite helpful in the product planning stages.

"People with low motivation may perform a behavior if the behavior is simple enough"

In order to simplify the behavior required, there are multiple ways by which you can go about it in your product plan:
- Understand the barriers from the user point of view - is it time commitment, physical presence, access to mental resources or money?
- Break down the desired task into smaller micro-tasks so it is easier for the user to complete them. For an app that encourages fitness, instead of suggesting "exercise for 30 minutes", it could change to  "walk for 5 minutes today" and gradually increase the requirement. The users wouldn't feel that it is such a difficult task to do
- Focus on your content / message to convey that the task is extremely simple to do. Share relevant support material to drive home the point

In a calorie tracking application, instead of manually typing out the foods, the user might find voice tracking to be simpler. Though his motivation to track his meals everyday might be low, the ability to track them through voice makes it quick and simple.

"If motivation is high enough, people might do extraordinary things–even difficult things– to perform the behavior"

To leverage this trait, the product manager has to identify the specific dimension that's behind user's motivation. Is it pleasure/pain, hope/fear, acceptance/rejection?

In the context of a personal finance product that tracks your expenses and investments,
- User segment A might have a lot of hope for their future and have many financial dreams to achieve
- User segment B might fear that their expenses are shooting up and they may not be able to reach their retirement goal.

The motivating factors are different for each of these two segments. The product direction is dependent on which user segment is dominant in their market.

For users with a positive force like "hope", the product could help in setting intermediate financial goals and motivating through a gamified experience.  For users with a negative force like "fear", the product could enable parking a specific amount in a separate locked account in the beginning of every month, which will indirectly reduce the expenses.

It's interesting to learn more about research work happening in persuasive design and how technology can play a vital role in changing our reinforced behaviors. Do connect if you would like to explore more on these topics.

Apr 22, 2014

Analysis of gamification principles - QuizUp


I have become quite fascinated with the theory around gamification, more so after completing the course by Prof. Kevin Werbach (Highly recommend you sign up for this course whenever it is offered next, if you want to understand gamification beyond points, badges and leader board)

It was exciting to come across an app like "QuizUp" that has applied the best practices and principles of game design and game mechanics in a fun and engaging way.


QuizUp is a basic trivia game on the mobile that challenges you on various topics ranging from Math, English grammar and spellings and even on the popular sitcom "Friends".  You pick any topic you like, start the quiz with any player in the world who is using the app (or challenge your friends from your social circle) and play the trivia which lasts for 7 rounds. Points are rewarded based on your performance in each round and the final end state. You gather points to reach different levels and the game progresses further.

What's done well?

The key challenge to such an app is to keep users engaged, not get bored easily and keep coming back for more.

In terms of time commitment from the user, the trivia quizzes are short and doesn't take too much of time to *finish* a game. In the middle of the day, whenever I feel like taking a short break, I would play a game or two, which doesn't take more than 5 minutes. So it feels like a nice and quick distraction from whatever else I was doing.

Looking at the game elements, *points* are the building blocks to reach various levels and climb up the leader board. Points are decided not only based on the correctness of your answer but also on the speed at which you get the correct answer. Sometimes, this can be a crucial factor, which ensures you are completely hooked to the game once you start. You also get instant feedback on your total points as well as points gathered in this present quiz with a breakup of various components. It gives more clarity to the player on where he has done right and what he needs to do in the next quiz. The game also nudges you to play the quiz again, by displaying the points required to reach the next level.

The basic principle to get a player to play any game is that the game should neither feel too easy nor too hard. The game should capitalize on the "achievement" factor which can be fun to many people. In the gamification course, Prof.Werbach lists down 14 attributes that players claim to be "fun". I would say QuizUp scores well in 7 of these attributes.
  1. Winning
  2. Problem solving
  3. Exploring
  4. Chilling
  5. Teamwork (collaborating with others)
  6. Recognition
  7. Triumphing (crushing an opponent)
  8. Collecting
  9. Surprise
  10. Imagination
  11. Sharing (being altruistic)
  12. Role playing
  13. Customization
  14. Goofing off
QuizUp also leverages the human trait to "complete" a task. Because of the need for a shorter time commitment, the time pressure to get the answer right and complete focus on just "one" question at a time, the game tends to hook you once the quiz starts. I would presume that the drop-off rates in the middle of a quiz would be quite low.

Where can it be improved?

Game progression is an important requirement for any gamified system. Without progression, monotony sets in and chances of drop off are high. QuizUp does get tougher as you progress into the category. You need more points to reach higher levels. However the quality of the trivia in itself doesn't seem to change much. For instance, I'm in level 21 of "Spellings" category and I get a simple spelling like "keyboard". It doesn't seem to challenge me and I have lost the initial enthusiasm I had. One of the key aspects of an engaging game is that the player has to feel a sense of mastery towards the task. If I'm able to crack harder spelling quizzes, I would feel a sense of pride and achievement.

As I mentioned earlier, levels get progressively tougher as the game requires you to gather more points to level up. It does get boring after a while as you are stuck in the same level and had to gather more points to go up.

*Badges*, though present are somewhat given lower prominence and is hidden inside the navigation drawers. I wasn't quite clear on their meanings and the progress bar. I presume the team is still working on implementing a "Collections" element which will entice the player to collect all badges.

The game is presently more driven by *intrinsic* motivation where a player wants to cross different levels and feel a sense of achievement. Only when a substantial social circle is developed for a player, the game will be able to leverage the pull through *extrinsic* motivation in the form of challenges and friends leader board.

The game can also provide ability to play group trivia that encourages cooperation and collaboration (Challenging an opponent is fun but collaborating/partnering together can be interesting too)

Though they display a leaderboard for various groups under friends, country and global, I'm not so bothered about it. I personally feel that a leader board makes sense ONLY if you are in the top 10. For the rest of the players, it's better if it's not even displayed in the first place.


Please do share if you have come across other web products/apps that have implemented the principles of gamification really well.

Apr 21, 2014

Minimum Wow Product (MWP) - a slight twist to MVP

Much has been written about Minimum Viable Product (MVP) - its relevance, expected outcome and its pitfalls. There have also been many variations of MVP, among which I personally like these two - Minimum Viable Transactions and More Valuable Product.

One of the attributes of a product manager that I personally like is that a PM should have a view of the world. It needn't be a fool-proof theory or a validated hypothesis but something you frame in your mind, which will obviously be based on your previous learning, ideologies and biases. So here's my view of the MVP concept.

The primary idea behind an MVP is that it allows you to test the waters with minimum effort. You want to validate your idea/hypothesis with a sample of the target market and get a better sense of the reaction, which helps you to formulate your future course of action.

Looking at it from a customer/user perspective, he comes across *yet another* new product/app. With information overload from so many sources, people are already feeling the cognitive drain, which in long term, can even lead to obesity (read this insightful post by Kathy Sierra).

Getting users' attention amidst this chaos is a humungous challenge. But it gets a little easier if the idea is radically new and users don't have an equivalent mental model to compare. An important personality trait which is closely linked to gathering new experiences is "novelty-seeking". This trait can push people to try out a new product/app, especially if it calls out to their dominant personality.

On the other hand, if the product/service is an improvement (however big or small it might be) over existing offerings, then the resistance to switch is quite high. This can be attributed to a behavioral economics concept called the "endowment effect".

"people ascribe more value to things merely because they own them"

Though the verb "own" is not quite relevant for most technology products, the investments that users have made in the form of time, information and connections will decide if the switch to a new product makes sense.

In both the cases, the user should feel a sense of "wow" when he tries out the new product - something that doesn't just appeal to the cognitive abilities but touches a chord at the emotional level. That's precisely the reason why I would go for a MWP - a minimum wow product.

What is the minimum work you need to invest in your V0.1 that make your users go "wow"?

A MWP should trigger a positive emotion from the very first experience, which gets reinforced during subsequent visits. The subtle messages, the intuitive interface, visual elements and outside-the-product experience (emails, notifications etc) all provide ample scope to get a "wow".

The more time spent in understanding the problem statement of the consumer, the better the chances to identify the scope of creating "wow" moments in the overall product experience.

For instance, though the travel e-commerce space is well established, there are multiple ways by which a "wow" experience can be brought in, by focusing on little details. Hipmunk's search results page was one such experience, thanks to schedule focused, color coded calendar layout, which was new and caught attention.

A few ways I could think of, related to leisure travel, that can bring about a "wow" experience:
- send a list of things to do in the city, the weather, the local events, what/where to buy return gifts, emergency contact details - all neatly presented in a printable format (or even mail a hard copy to the address if possible)
- provide possible comparison options between various places to visit in the user's consideration set. If I'm planning a vacation at the end of May and I have narrowed down to 3-4 places, help me decide which one is the better choice, given various parameters such as activities to do, distance, accessibility, on/off season, cost etc
- display pictures of happy travelers next to the hotel / city monuments to bring in more authenticity and personal touch to the whole booking process. Or maybe display the number of travelers who booked a specific hotel from the site (something like "900 travelers have booked this hotel so far through us")

Would like to hear your thoughts/comments on MWP and if it resonates with you or not.

Apr 18, 2014

Immerse in the problem

A couple of weeks back, I was chatting with a wannabe-startupper. The key problem he wants to solve is that consumers spend a lot of time on purchase decisions by visiting online e-commerce sites as well as offline retail stores. He plans to build a price aggregator (somewhat similar to what compareindia does). We discussed about many aspects of decision making including
- involvement level of product categories
- different stages involved
- showrooming behavior

During our chat, I did sense an urgency towards building the solution, rather than understanding the context and framing the problem statement. It's quite natural as engineers that we want to jump into the solution to the problem for which we have a reasonable understanding. But is this knowledge sufficient?

In this specific scenario, I suggested him to pursue a few initiatives in parallel to building out the solution.
- Narrow down a specific product category, preferably one that requires high involvement like consumer goods.
- Spend a few days in different retail stores, observing the conversations between potential consumers and salespeople - their body language, questions, their interactions with the demo product
- Talk to a few of them to understand their buying process and motivations, online v/s offline concerns
- Identify if consumers are willingly spending their time and effort visiting different offline retail stores, just so that they can understand different offerings, narrow down to a specific brand and get a better deal
- Go over the product description material available in e-commerce stores. Identify what's available and what's missing, from a consumer research perspective

From his subtle reactions over phone, I got a feeling that he wasn't so enthusiastic about these activities :-)

Paul Graham in his essay, "18 mistakes that kill startups" brings up an important point -
" you create wealth in proportion to how well you understand the problem you're solving, and the problems you understand best are your own."

Immersing into the problem is extremely important
- to identify the motivations and emotions that run in the minds of consumers
- to get more clarity on the context and situation
- to understand the current alternatives available to consumers and why they are (or aren't) solving the problem

Steve Johnson suggests a possible solution to understand the problem
"Do the job to understand the job and its challenges. In most cases, the customer doesn’t know he has a problem. A product manager must understand the customer’s situation better than the customer does, and use that knowledge to develop a solution for the customer."

I'm quite impressed by movie stars who get into the shoes of their characters to understand their daily routines, pains and struggles, challenges and wins. I would love to use a service that enables such passive interactions between target consumers and a product manager. Potential startup idea, maybe?

I'm actively looking for a framework that helps to unravel consumer problems along all possible dimensions. If there is none, maybe I'll give a shot at it !


Apr 17, 2014

Jobs-to-be-done framework in product design

As discussed in my last post, customers try to satisfy their needs by going after specific goals. They evaluate a product/service to see if it helps them achieve these goals. The evaluation criteria is based on multiple factors but the bottom line is to conclude whether the product helps to achieve their goal or not.

When I came across the jobs-to-be-done framework by Professor.Clayton Christensen and the famous milkshake example, it felt like an "aha" moment. The key learning is that people choose to "hire" a product or service to do a job.

Couple of his lines that made a lot of sense to me:

"marketer's task is to understand the job the customer wants to get done, and design products and brands that fill that need."

He also emphasizes that every job has a social, functional and emotional dimension to it and that's where a marketer's focus should be.

"the job, not the customer, is the fundamental unit of analysis for a marketer who hopes to develop products that customers will buy."

Though the reference point is from a marketer's perspective, this framework is equally relevant and applicable to product design.

As part of the product conceptualization process, many tech startups have started to imbibe the "jobs-to-be-done" concept as a replacement to user stories.

A user story is typically written in the form -
"As a [type of user], I want [some action], so that [outcome]"
whereas a job story is written in the form -
"When _____ , I want to _____ , so I can _____ ."

The key distinction here is that user story focuses primarily on the end outcome expected out of an action whereas a job story focuses more on the context and causality. I came across this very detailed comparison between user story and job story in Medium a few days back. Worth a read.


 Reflecting on the same fitness example I used in my last post, the goal can be broken down into smaller jobs. For instance,

Goal => I want to lose weight

Jobs
  • Whenever I'm sitting continuously for an hour, I want a reminder to get up and stretch for 5 minutes so I can be more conscious about being active
  • When I'm inside a store to buy groceries, I want a list of healthy ingredients to buy so I can plan a healthy meal for the week
  • When I'm meeting a friend who is also interested in fitness, I need a few good articles to discuss and plan our workout together so I can engage in interesting conversations
  •  Whenever I'm enjoying a high calorie dessert, I want to know the equivalent workout to do to compensate for the calories consumed so I don't feel guilty about the dessert

The context in these 4 jobs could help the product manager / designer to understand the trigger situations as well as motivating factors.

In an interview on user onboarding, Ryan Singer from 37signals talks about how the job identification can help to create a great onboarding experience.

As he talks about product features and user motivation, he says 
"attributes do not cause you to do things. It's your situation that you're in that triggers your causality."

So a clear focus on the context can give clarity on the reasons for "why we do what we do".

The key take-aways for me from this jobs-to-be-done framework are
- Take a deep dive into the context or situation ("When" and "Where") that is applicable to a specific job
- Get a clear understanding of the reasons behind the context ("Why")
- Identify the potential issues the customers face because of the context





Apr 16, 2014

A model to map customer needs and goals

It all started with diving deep into the phenomenon (yes, it is!) of user retention. What makes a user come back to a product/service? Books, blogs, articles, research papers - my search continues and takes me to interesting directions. I haven't reached a conclusion yet but all roads seem to be leading to the basic premise that a user takes the help of a product/service to achieve his/her goal. After the first use, if he "believes" that the product will help him reach his goal, he is sure to come back.

This belief has to be reinforced with each visit, until the user accepts the product as his support / companion that helps him accomplish his goal.

For product creators, the key challenge is not just ensuring that user *gets* this connection (user's goal <=> my product) but also to understand what these goals are in the first place. Talk to any product manager about his job profile and the first thing he would say is that I need to "understand my customer needs".

These 4 words are of vital importance and each of them can be dissected further (which I shall do so in subsequent blog posts). For now, let's focus on the "needs" part for a little bit.

Every individual has needs which are further classified into
1) Innate or primary needs - physiological, need for food, water, clothing etc
2) Acquired or secondary needs - psychological, need for social acceptance, self-esteem, accomplishment etc

If there is an unmet need, the individual feels a state of "tension" that drives him to take action which he believes, will reduce the tension and satisfy the need.

This "drive" that pushes the user to take action is what we all know as "motivation".

Now that we have a basic idea of what needs are and what motivation means, let's talk about "goals" and where it fits into this model.

A "goal" is a concrete form of expression of a need. For any specific need, there could be multiple goals. The selection of a specific goal to address the need depends on multiple factors such as individual's past experiences, his beliefs and values, societal norms etc.

Presenting these different elements together** 
Taking fitness as an example,



















I find this model of dissection to be extremely useful to get to the actual customer needs. While talking to customers (or prospects), you could use a technique like "5 whys" to elucidate responses which can give you a breakdown of motivation, goal, tension and finally the actual need.

**Adapted from "model of the motivation process" presented in Consumer Behavior by Schiffman and Kanuk

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