Now more than ever, product managers must deeply understand their customers. With digital transformation efforts rampant, competitors coming online faster, and customer experience expectations rising, the standard practice of customer-needs discovery can’t keep up with this fast pace of change. In addition, customer demands are evolving rapidly — if you blink, you may miss them and an opportunity for your offering to align.

We need to level the playing field, and continuous product discovery offers organizations this chance. This practice improves on current approaches to customer-needs discovery — often limited to the early and late stages of a product’s commercialization and lifecycle process — to one that is frequent, iterative, and performed by a cross-functional team.

What Is Continuous Product Discovery?

Continuous product discovery is defined by the following key actions:

  • Identifying and refining customer needs. Continuous product discovery identifies and iterates on customer and stakeholder needs to define and refine the outcomes that will provide value. This involves understanding buyer and user personas, their desired outcomes and experiences, and the achieved business benefit.
  • Conducting ongoing and iterative research activities. The practice of understanding customer needs must evolve into a series of continuous activities that keep product management in lock step with user insights and changes in desired outcomes. Regular, iterative research and testing activities prevent surprise market shifts and keep the organization informed on the latest customer trends.
  • Uncovering product experience and user behavior insights. Continuous product discovery goes beyond understanding the offering capabilities required to achieve outcomes. It exposes insights on product experience and user behavior — for example, the journey that customers take to accomplish outcomes and how they value their achievements. This allows product teams to design and build offerings that deliver value and delight customers in new and more innovative ways.

Move From Identifying Needs To Deeply Understanding Customers

Continuous product discovery practices provide several key benefits:

  • Smoothed-out needs discovery. The practice improves the choppy nature of current needs-discovery processes and integrates evidence-based decisions.
  • Value-driven alignment. Organizations enhance customer-centric, innovative offerings that better align with business objectives and customer outcomes.
  • Collaborative needs discovery. Continuous product discovery fosters a deeper, collaborative relationship with customers and stakeholders while providing a constant flow of vetted offering ideas to product teams.

Product leaders must prepare for and help implement the practice of continuous product discovery. They should start by understanding key components such as best-practice frameworks and cross-functional resources to help craft strategies that continually support their product teams through culture, practices, and resources.

Join us at this year’s B2B Summit North America, June 5–7 in Austin, Texas, and digitally, to learn more about improving customer-needs discovery practices and driving customer-obsessed growth.