We did a few searches on customer validation and product development for this post. Wow! Lot's of advice. A lot of the advice boils down (easy to say!) to getting as much information from your potential and existing customers (if you have them) as possible. This is obvious, but hard to do sometimes.
At Brackitz we did this quite a bit:
- Customer focus groups
- Anonymous customer feedback/reviews
- Selling to "early adopters" and asking for specific feedback
- The easy, but not brutally honest friends and family -- gotta start somewhere
- Free samples to schools, museums, daycares
- And so on.
Once we were certain we had a good, solid product we began delivering to customers. But, no matter how much you do of the above and the fact that people buy them and say great things, you always wonder if there was some influence involved or people are just being nice. This is the "it can't really be true humility".
Now to the punchline so-to-speak: The best customer validation is from random people hundreds of miles away who use your product without charge and then request to buy it. This is perhaps the cleanest and most valid customer approval. We did it!
This scenario has played out many times at Discovery and Science Museums throughout the US and Internationally. Most recently Brackitz have been introduced at the Lawrence Hall of Science in Berkeley, California. We are writing about this now because our founder is an alumni from UC Berkeley (once working at Lawrence Berkeley Labs), the Lawrence Hall of Science is a leader in STEM Education (which has lead to a Cambridge, England museum inquiry and enthusiasm from the Smithsonian's Spark!Labs), and they have some fantastic pictures of creations from their young visitors (girls like to build too).
As you might have guessed, the Lawrence Hall of Science Discovery Corner store now stocks Brackitz thanks to customer requests! Thank you LHS and your awesome families and children.