What 100% really means

It's important to evaluate new offerings with consumers before launching them into the market.  I don't know of many companies who would disagree.  Yet I am consistently amazed by how many companies will be satisfied with the statement "100% of consumers preferred Option A", when they have no answer to the question "Does Option A resonate best compared with other market alternatives, or is it just the least bad of the options presented?"

Before new options are developed, it's important to have defined the consumer and market opportunities first. Every option that is developed should satisfy the consumer and market opportunities in some way.  The logic behind how it satisfies these opportunities should be clear, even if it looks "out there" at first glance.  If this work is not done, you will have no way of knowing whether your consumer evaluations are confirming a market winner or just the best loser.

Think about the levels of confidence for market success you are building into your product development process. Is 100% preference of one over four bad options better than 75% preference of one over four likely winners really better?  While most would say the latter is better, I tend to see the former far more often.  Why?  Because most don't know when all the options are missing the mark in the first place.  I'd say that this is the single biggest reason for market failures that I see, and the single most important change that can be made in a product development process.

The companies that get this right will win.  Every company I have worked with who takes this seriously has realized great success for the effort.