LISTEN: The Definitive Guide to Building the Right Product

LISTEN: The Definitive Guide to Building the Right Product

When startups begin to develop a product to sell, they need to be able to not only sell it, but design the product and tailor it towards the consumer (just like a suit), but it has to fit many people and often, people with different characteristics (of course, it can’t always fit everyone, but let’s think the majority here).

Without the consumer, there is no means to do business, and this is why we need to understand the definition of the consumer first.

In this post, you will learn about how an everyday consumer is built and what you should consider in your product to be able to make it a success.

We don’t necessarily have to love everything about our product. Still, we must believe in its representation as a betterment for the consumer and as a life-changer (even minor) when added to the consumer’s arsenal. After all, we all have loved ones, and we all dislike one or two things that those loved ones do at times.

Am I right? Yes, I did compare products to loved ones. My product is my child and the employees are all the godfathers, godmothers, uncles, and aunts of that child!

The question raises itself here: how do we create a product that fits in an aggressive consumer world? Simple, we take in mind the definition of the consumer, and it all falls within one acronym, LISTEN.

The word LISTEN on its own is simple to understand, but what if we break down every letter into a trait of a regular consumer such as you and I?

1. L – Lazy 

Yes, every consumer on this planet is lazy. Whether you want to admit it or not, we all want to do the least possible to get as much as possible, and it’s almost instinctive. Try to make a product that allows you to make life ‘simpler’ and ‘less’ time-consuming for the consumer.

If it isn’t something that will cure an irritation, then it will make the consumer think twice before making a decision (thinking twice, in this case, is a no-no).

2. I – Intimacy

Another instinctive building block of every human is when you involve the opposite sex (and same-sex), or when you speak of love, be it brotherly, friendly, and empathetic moments. When you design a product around something that involves intimacy or sexuality of some sort, even if it’s nominal or subliminal, it becomes more attractive to all of us.

Of course, over-sexualizing content is not a good thing. Still, hints of it may take it a long way, e.g. in a lifestyle based ad, they usually tend to look for the most handsome person they can find to sit on a couch and interact with the product, or as we saw pretty often 20-30 years ago, a beautiful woman eating a “spicy” burger. 

3. S – Stupid

Yes, I said it…everyone, including myself, is stupid because we all have made a decision or two in life that we regret, and we constantly make those impulsive decisions… especially when shopping. We have all bought a product where we later thought, “why on earth did I buy this?!”

Some companies take advantage of such behaviors to create a “one-off” kind of product, but startups shouldn’t necessarily want that with their products. We want it to be a recurring buy, a necessity, or a requirement of some sort, that even if it gets bought once, a consumer after using it would want to come back because of how good it was/is. 

4. T – Timid 

Animals such as deers are very timid creatures, and they won’t wait for you when you run towards them, yelling and flailing your hands in the air. The same thing happens to people. The instant you overwhelm a consumer, you are guaranteed to have lost them.

They will not be interested in your product and, in a good case scenario, may buy it simply to stop being pestered. Whatever tactic you use to promote the product must be one that eases your path, mimicking the crosswind and small steps towards the deer to get as close as possible.

Similarly, the product itself must be thought out so that it is not overwhelming or overcomplicated: e.g. iPhone’s have computing powers that put many computers to shame, but users are not overwhelmed by it because of its optimal user experience from touch to software navigation and simplicity in use. 

5. E – Enchantment

You can take the world’s most ridiculous item, package it correctly, make it sellable, lovable, look like a necessity, and become a millionaire. It’s called proper marketing.

Packaging your already good product and making it look like what it can be to the consumer, will make it a more attractive product and not just a good product that gets lost on a shelf somewhere.

Look at perfumes as an example, the actual product may cost no more than five bucks, but the packaging, the promotion, and the hype could reach upwards of a hundred dollars per product, hence the inflated selling price. Take $100, spend $1 on developing the product, and $99 on the packaging and promotion. 

6. N – Nosey

We have all at some point slowed down while driving next to a car accident to see what was happening. Let’s face it, it’s instinctive and natural human curiosity. We always want to be in the know. The point here is purely for marketing purposes; you can take advantage of this fact by creating a campaign that will make people want to know more about the product offering. Create a hype! 

Final thoughts

LISTEN can be applied to a multitude of use cases. You don’t need a specific format for it; just make sure you tick all the LISTEN boxes when you’re building your product, and voilà! You’ve instantly increased (dramatically) the chances of the success of your product.

To end this read, I would like to say that there is no single schema to get everything right. Things evolve, even consumers, and their behavior does. Still, after 15 years of experience, I haven’t seen any consumers not having at least 80% of the characteristics mentioned above embedded in them.

Your product/startup deserves an effort to experiment and to find out the persona of your perfect client so make sure you LISTEN to every one of them. 

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy of Modus Capital.

More Resources:

Bias in Product – Most Common Biases in MENA Product Development

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