Understand Your Customer Before You Build an App

August 10, 2018 | It runs in the family Brett Burkhart, Partner, Shift Interactive, brett@interactiveshift.com

Q. I have a new app idea that I’m really excited about. Is it true that if I build it, they will come?

A. It may have worked in the movie “Field of Dreams,” but it’s not usually the case when it comes to getting new customers or users for software, apps and websites.

If they do pay you a visit online, they might not stay to complete a transaction. Just being an Iowa business doesn’t mean you’ve got a leg up on other options available on the web, even to a local audience. The internet is a global marketplace, and a crowded one at that, and in order to gain new customers you have to truly understand them.

A movie title that more accurately describes what you need to deliver to potential customers is “The Whole Nine Yards.”

So how do you do that?

It takes having a deep understanding of the users: what they want, what they’re not getting elsewhere, where they hang out and how you can get their attention.

Have conversations.

Talk with your potential customers to gain insights into who they are, as well as their perceptions, current pain points and challenges. After all, an architect wouldn’t design a home for someone without learning about their desires and involving them in the process.

Before you start building the best new web application, mobile app or website, take the time to really understand your customer or end user. Then go out and talk to them. Get confirmation on your assumptions. Share the idea. You’ll learn a lot of keys to success and at a much lower cost than if you built the wrong solution based on incorrect assumptions.