The three levels of customer research - Deepstash
The three levels of customer research

The three levels of customer research

Customer research can be done on three different levels using the Sherlock Holmes approach: The macro, meso and micro level.

On macro level you’ll learn more about
• Market segment
• Market size
• Overall market trends

On meso level you’ll look into
• Buyers and user personas
• Online user communities
• Competitors

On micro level you’ll gain more knowledge from
• Customer interviews
• Surveys
• Industry conferences



Customer research shouldn’t be done only in the beginning when you have an idea for a product, it should be done on a continuous basis. Customer needs change as new requirements are enforced, or as competitors offer new features.

The insights you get from doing more solid customer research will guide your overall product strategy, inform your design decisions and your technical choices. On the contrary, if you don’t have these insights to inform your product decisions, you quickly end up practicing the piñata approach — swinging your imaginary stick countless times only to miss the target.


Know what problem you are solving and for who

Before you conduct any customer research, you need to know what problem you are solving, who you are solving it for, and have a product idea. In any case, try to be as specific as possible on both your idea and your ideal customers.  


The piñata approach

Driving products forward in this way is like blindfolding a team, giving them a stick and hoping they eventually will hit the piñata. The lucky ones might hit it at some point, but inevitably they will miss a lot of shots

Product teams using the piñata approach are not directed by insights from customer research — they are guided by opinions and solutions to problems that don’t exist.



As compared to B2C research, B2B research can be more difficult to conduct.

This is why the Sherlock Holmes approach is without doubt your best way forward in acquiring as much information as possible about your target customers from different sources. Spice up customer interviews with a greater understanding of trends in your target market, competitors and desk research to paint yourself a better picture of your end users.


The Sherlock Holmes approach

Approaching your market, customers and competitors like Sherlock Holmes will give you significantly better chances of achieving product-market fit. 

You will approach your product idea with great curiosity and wonder, and investigate all signals as part of a bigger puzzle. You’ll use all five senses and a dose of analytical skills in your journey to find product-market fit. 


Deepstash helps you become inspired, wiser and productive, through bite-sized ideas from the best articles, books and videos out there.



Make sure your product is ready

Make sure that the item itself is ready to go to market. It’s no use approaching buyers if there are issues with durability or design which need fixing before production can begin in earnest.

Conduct testing which usually happens in various stages and typically involves:

  • Design testing and quality control checks to ensure that the product is fit for purpose and works as intended
  • Trials to see how well the target market responds to your idea
  • Customer surveys focus groups and blind testing
  • Production testing to make sure there are no issues with the manufacturing processes or supply line



What is market research?

You need to adapt your marketing strategy to complement the way today's consumers research, shop, & buy to sell your service. To do that, you must have a deep understanding of who your buyers are, your specific market, and what influences the purchase decisions and behavior of your target audience members.

Market research is the process of gathering information about your business's buyers personas, target audience, and customers to determine how viable and successful your product or service would be, and/or is, among these people.



The challenge of moving upmarket as a product manager

Every product management role consists of a deep focus on the customer.

The challenge is ensuring that your product continues to evolve to meet the needs of your new customers without neglecting the needs of the long-term, smaller customers.