Oct 19, 2016

Why you need to care about your customer's motivations?

Over the past 4 years working on multiple products, I noticed an interesting pattern on the problems that many product managers are trying to solve. They seem to fall under one of these five major themes:
  1. Evangelizing the product
  2. Driving product adoption
  3. Effective onboarding
  4. Increasing user engagement
  5. Demonstrating value during the customer lifecycle
The debate on whether we are building the right product or not seems to have settled down. The much bigger question many are grappling with is how to communicate the right value to the right target customers. This makes me ponder if the role of product marketing is now becoming a lot more important and crucial for product success.

Many of these problems involve identifying the right audience, right channels, right message and right context. That explains the proliferation of contextual communication platforms such as Intercom, WebEngage, Customer.io, Appcues, Autosend etc.

With plenty of tools and platforms available, these problems should have been easy to solve. But the crux of these problems involve understanding customer motivations -
- why should a user be interested in your product?
- what conditions / situations / context in his life will lead to interest in your product?
- when do such conditions / situations manifest in your user's personal (or professional) life?
- what are the current alternatives that he has deployed in his life to solve the problem your product is intended to solve?
- what are the limitations of such alternatives? When will those limitations become such a big issue for your target user that he is ready to seek an alternative?
- what are the repercussions that would arise if he doesn't address those problems, by using these less-capable alternatives?

Unless we have a deep understanding of these areas, the problems listed will persist, irrespective of any number of targeted communications that a product manager / product marketer sends out to their users.

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