So many ways to fail. Do you have a favorite?

In the front end of innovation, though, there are just two ways to fail. An error omission is failing to uncover an unarticulated customer need. An error of commission is choosing the wrong customer need to work on. Funny thing about errors of omission: No one knows you erred… until a competitor launches a blockbuster product.

More in white paper, Guessing at Customer Needs (page 5).

It’s hard to create differentiated products if you don’t behave differently.

Companies that want differentiated products often behave the same as competitors. They can’t say, “Our R&D staff is 20% smarter than competitors’, so our products usually win.” But they could win by understanding customer needs better than competitors… letting them “aim” their R&D brainpower much better. Be different to differentiate.

More in article, Do You Really Interview Customers?

B2B companies should have two VOC objectives, while B2C companies have but one.

B2C companies seek to understand customer needs. B2B companies should do this and engage customers, priming them to buy later. If you interview ten customers that represent 20% or 50% of the market segment’s buying power, wouldn’t it be an incredible waste if you failed to engage these companies… so they wanted to work with you?

More in article, The Missing Objective in B2B VOC (Originally published in B2B Organic Growth Newsletter).

Your B2B customers are smarter than you.

It may be OK for consumer goods producers to guess their customers’ needs. After all, their product developers are end-consumers themselves. But your B2B customers know so much more than you about their needs. Isn’t it silly to guess their needs, when they’d love to tell you… if you asked the right way?

More in e-book, Reinventing VOC for B2B (page 1)