Translation Step 3 - Evaluation

Here's the final step in translating your consumer insights into a viable product or service offering.  At this point, your people are aware of the role their discipline plays in delivering on the consumer insight.  They also have the capability to actually do what needs to be done.

The final step is figuring out whether or not they got it right.  At this point, we'll assume that you've done all your traditional market-sizing, etc.  You know that the opportunity you've identified, based on your consumer insight, is a good one.  It's now time to check in with consumers again to see if your work hits the mark. 

Doing the right evaluation is of utmost importance here.  You don't want to know whether or not the consumer "likes" the offering.  You don't want it to be offensive to them, but you don't need them to "like" it.  This is a difficult concept for most companies to grasp, so stick with me while I explain it.  When you ask a consumer whether or not they like something, they will think about things like - Do I like that color?  Do I think that design is cool?  Do I like those words?  What you need to know instead is - Which design will make their work easier?  Which example looks like it will help them to acheive [stated] goal?  If they also like it, that's great.  But ultimately, people are more likely to buy products based on how well they will work for them, and are less likely to buy based on whether or not they initially like them.

This is especially true when you are trying to introduce a new, game-changing product.  New things are weird to people, and they tend not to like them.  Over time, however, if they realize that the new product works well for them, they will buy it.  Another example is the fact that more people tend to like BMW's than actually buy them.  On the other hand, if you're introducing a simple upgrade to an existing product, you may be able to get away with asking whether or not they like it.  Just make sure it's not inching you away from providing the ideal experience to meet their needs.

Don't forget to evaluate your ideas, especially if they are new.  And please, don't get caught in the "consumer said they liked it" trap.  Many companies have failed to launch new ideas based on this information, only to watch their competitors beat them to the punch.