By Eza Zaheer
Situation of Pakistan – A developing country with roughly 163 universities and thousands of graduates from all walks of life sounds quite stirring until we crunch the numbers further and talk about the entrepreneurs ascending from these places of knowledge. The situation then turns pretty grim pretty quick. Per year influx of start-ups in our economy is not enough. What makes the situation even worse is that many of them never take off; they sink despite having the potential to swim.
One of the many reasons leading to the failure of our startups is the lack of ability of young entrepreneurs to understand the basic approach to develop and market the product. An excruciating confusion tends to rise up when young entrepreneurs begin; they often end up asking questions like
“Which is better, Product centric or customer centric? What if both of them are equally important? Can both co exist or do we really have to pick one over the other?”
The best method to understand both of them is to break these approaches down understanding them by relation, examples and evaluation of their pros and cons.
In product centric thinking, maximum focus is on product that you will take to the market. It involves creating something innovative or new irrespective of the demand. Companies working with this approach believe that customers often don’t know what their need is unless they are made to realize that a need exists. This is done by presenting a stellar product in front of them with which they have never had a previous encounter. Product centric approach if implemented successfully leads to the creation of cutting edge products. Hence, a new segment is formed which begins to expand and grow exponentially (but not always, this success can be short lived).
The focus of product centered companies is to have the best product in the industry with the latest features. These companies live and die with their products. Technology plays an important role in these companies.
Pros of Product centric thinking
Cons of product centric thinking
An Example worth sharing
Apple is more inclined towards product centric approach
Neil Patel at Forbes writes “Nine out of ten startups will fail”. Naming the reason a “Hard and Bleak truth”, Neil narrates
““They make products no one wants.” A careful survey of failed startups determined that 42% of them identified the “lack of a market need for their product” as the single biggest reason for their failure.”
This is where customer thinking comes in. A customer is the heart of this approach, everything related to product revolves around the needs and wants of the customers. This approach makes sure the product is designed the way customer wants it.
Everything is seen and evaluated from a customer’s perspective. Is it easy for them to use the product? Are they having any problem getting a hang of the product? Whether or not they have complaints? How could the product be improved for them? How happy are the buyers? What can we do to make them stick along forever? What kind of customers are most beneficially to us? How can we add up their number? Etc…
Customer centric companies create the best solution for the customers not just the best product.
Pros of consumer centric thinking
Cons of consumer centric thinking
An Example worth sharing
Amazon is more inclined towards consumer centric approach.
Steve Jobs once said “Customers don’t know what they want until you show it to them” which favors the product centric approach but another industry icon Jeff Bezos says “We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better” clearly favoring the costumer centric approach.
We have also discussed the pros and cons of both approaches which kind of makes things more confusing.
Finding the balance between both approaches is the key for startups. The examples in this article e.g. Amazon or Apple also use both the approaches to remain top of mind with their customers. For example, Apple has been branded as a product centric company due to its innovative products since long but Apple does a lot of work on the costumers as well.
Hence, whether your business is small or big maintaining a balance is the ultimate key.
Also, ask yourself following questions after reading the article and then decide which one you should go for as a startup:
For more startup wisdom visit startup.pk.