Vitamins won’t kill the pain

by Sean Boyce

If you are approaching product development correctly, you are first trying to find a market with an obvious unmet need. After that determination you are better equipped to design the product that fills that need. The greater the need, and the more your product satisfies it, the more successful your product is likely to be. But merely solving the needs of customers doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have a successful product.

Taking a pill for the cure

When judging the importance of the problem your product solves it’s helpful to determine   whether your solution is either a “painkiller” or “vitamin”. Think about how these two different pills may impact your own life. A vitamin is nice to have, but if you don’t have it, or you forget to take it for a couple of days, you can still function on a reasonably healthy level. But if you are in pain that condition will without a doubt be a top priority, and you will do whatever is necessary to make the pain stop so you can get through your day.

How painful is your customer’s need?

Obviously, you want your product to be a painkiller; the best possible cure for a very real problem that the customer is experiencing. Whether your product improves their ability to run their business, helps them make or save money, or compete more effectively so they can stay in business, the customer needs to see your product as critical at this very moment.

Dialing up a painkiller

An excellent example of a painkiller type of product is the iPhone. Smart phones existed before the invention of the iPhone, but they weren’t serving all of the most important needs of customers. Apple did the research and delivered much more than the competition, and continues to make improvements that are important to the market, so people are willing to buy each new model, almost irrespective of the price. On the other hand, fitness tracking apps, while nice to have, are not something most people are willing to pay for, unless they include some unique, awesome features.

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Taking cues from customers

If you don’t know whether your product is a painkiller or a vitamin, your potential customers will give you strong hints that will provide the answer. If, after a product demo, you get responses such as, “I love what you guys have done! That’s a cool product … but, I’m good, thanks.” If your sales people are hearing, “Can you call me back in 6 months?”, that’s another clue. But most telling of all, if you are not coming even close to your sales goals, chances are pretty good that you have developed a product that is not solving a critical need in the market.

How to create a killer painkiller product

There’s only one way to ensure you’re not developing a product that won’t sell, and that is to conduct effective initial interviews with potential customers. This is your chance to let the customer tell you what their greatest challenges are, what they most need to change in their lives or their business, and how those needs are not fulfilled by whatever products are currently available. This is critical information that you need to have before even considering developing a product. Without it you may be creating a solution that may be nice to have, but that will not sell.

If you would like help creating a profitable painkiller, Nxt Step’s Product Launch System can help you develop a successful, profitable product that solves customers’ problems.  Visit our website at for more information on how we can help you refine your product’s value proposition, or contact us at  Subscribe to our YouTube channel, for more insights on product marketing.

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