Long-term product success most important secret

In this in-depth case study I will describe the process that enabled a long-term product success.

I’ve characterized the product using the JTBD framework and managed his development, Launch & implementation. It was launched 10 years ago and it is still a very big success.

Background

According to a recent study less than 5% of the products released to the market manage to last for more than 1 year.

In over 80% of cases the companies that created them:

  • Had a very creative idea
  • Hired a bunch of very talented team to develop the product
  • Invested a considerable amount of time and money.

So, What is the secret of the 5% products ? the ones that becomes a true success story?

Like in many things in life, the answer is complicated and depends on many factors.

Succeeding in today’s world is hard ! but analyzing when the core of those successful products, there’s always 1 thing that is common to all of them.

Let me share this secret with you, demonstrated in-depth with a product I’ve led 10 years ago and it’s still one of the leading growth engines of the company today 🙂

The amazing idea that my customer invented was a real disruption.

Usually when people go through a surgery they are kept in the hospital for an after care.

The idea was to harness advanced technologies to allow the patients to recover at the comfortable of their home while getting medical support via telemedicine devices & their TV ( personal computers are not so common for elderly people, especially in 2006 🙂 )

Ready for a deep dive on how I’ve turned my customer’s amazing idea into a living successful product following the JTBD framework?

Step 1: What is the real “jobs” those people are trying to accomplish?

Usually people think in terms of the solutions…

  • Kodak thought that people wants to buy photographic film…and failed
  • Blockbuster was sure that people want to rent movies…and failed
  • 15 years ago everyone assumed that people wants a matchmaker…anyone saw a matchmaker lately?

A professor from Harvard named Clayton Christensen is renowned for realizing that:
People don’t just buy products or just want to use a certain service. They “hire” them to do a job

  • Kodak’s customers wanted to hire the best solution to capture & share memories – once facebook & instagram gave a better solution for that “job”…the customers “fired” kodak solution and “hired” instagram solution.
  • Blockbuster’s customers wanted to hire the best solution to get entertainment at home – once netflix gave them a better solution…the blockbuster empire was destroyed.
  • Matchmaker customers wanted to hire the best solution to find a romantic partner – once on-line dating sites emerged (tinder,..) and helped customers to get this job done better…matchmakers became something of the past

In our case – People do NOT want to stay at hospitals to recover after surgery – people just want to recover from the surgery, it just happened to be that staying at the hospital was the only available solution.

Revealing the JTBD is done by asking why do people use the current solution. in our case, the answer is that people use hospital after care to recover from surgery

If our product will help people do this job better then other solutions than thy will “hire” him and we will have a long-term product success.

Step 2: Defining how people measure success in getting the job done

Now that we are focused about the JOB that our customers are trying to do, we need to define how they measure success.

Once we understand how our customers measure success, we will be able to tailor the solution around the things THEY really care about.

My recommendation is to define each success parameter in the following structure:

long-term product success is achieved by defining success parameters in this structure

success parameters optimal structure

here is just a partial list of the functional success parameters:

DirectionMetricObject of control
Minimizethe timeto recover from the surgery
Minimizethe likelihoodto get infections
maXimizethe availabilityof the medical team
maXimize the accessibilityof the medical team
Minimizethe response timeof the service
Minimizethe painpatients feel during the recovery

There were 50 additional parameters…( Can hospital food really compete with a homemade dinner?).

Understanding those parameters is critical ! it helps us understand what is a “better solution” from the customers Point-Of-View so we can really achieve a long-term product success

Since humans are not robots…there are actually 3 types of success parameters:

  1. Functional – discussed here
  2. Emotional – will be discussed in step 3
  3. Social – will be discussed in step 4

Step 3: Emotional success parameters

In so many researches, it is shown that emotions are effecting almost every aspect of human behavior (most of the time without the person even aware of this).

In order to get a long-term success, a product MUST answer the emotional “jobs” the customer is trying to accomplish. Emotional Job is focused on how people feel about themselves when they are using a solution to get the job done. Notice that in most cases the customers would never talk about this.

A very partial list of the emotional parameters we’ve discovered:

DirectionMetricObject of control
Minimizethe anxietyI feel during the recovery
Minimizethe fearI feel during the recovery
Minimizethe lonelinessI feel during the recovery
Minimizethe timeto regain the confidence level I had before

And many more…

Step 4: Social success parameters

The 3rd and final key for defining what people really want and achieving a long-term product success.

It’s about how other people are perceiving the customer while he is trying to get the “job” done.

Here I’ve identified how people perceive what others think about them while they are recovering from the surgery ( just a few examples)

DirectionMetricObject of control
Minimizedependence on my family and friendsduring the recovery period
Minimizethe effort for my familyto be near me
Minimizethe likelihoodthat people will perceive me as helpless

The list goes on…

Step 5: Job executors & Game changing success parameters

There is no perfect solution, each solution has pros & cons.

In order to get a long-term product success, we need to have enough customers that for them our solution is the best.

In JTBD the market is divided into different groups of job executors. Let’s review some possible job executors and what are their Game Changing Success Parameters (GCSP)

Job executorsGame changing success parameters
independent business ownersMinimize the time to recover from the surgery
people with weak immune systemMinimize the likelihood to get infections
people with low confidenceMinimize the anxiety I feel + Minimize the fear I feel during the recovery
people with a very busy family membersMinimize the loneliness I feel during the recovery

Step 6: Realizing the real competition

Once you complete the analysis of step 5, you’re starting to realize that the real competition is not only from your category !!!

Remember Kodak ? they created the BEST photographic film in the world, but they were defeated by a disruptive “out-of-category” competitor – an online app called Instagram.

We can create the best telenursing product in the world with the most amazing technology…But if for example, Private nurses or Private hospitals gives a better solution for the JTBD of recovering from a surgery then our customers will “fire” our solution and “hire” the private hospital solutions.

This is why you MUST realize your true “out-of-category” competitors for your specific chosen job executors !

This is especially true when you wish to achieve a long-term product success because overtime someone will disrupt your market. The disruptors do it by giving a better solution to your job executors.

can be a big threat or your biggest opportunity  (if you manage to identify them when they just start out…so you can learn from them…or simply buy them )

Step 7: Analyzing adoption by the relevant business partners

Your product can be successful only if it was carefully designed to address also the JTBD of all the business partners.

The analysis showed a detailed benefits for each of them – here’s just a “taste”:

  • The hospitals – they are suffering from a very big overload.
  • The government – they want to make the citizens life better.
  • the politicians – want to be perceived as helping the public.
  • The health maintenance organization (HMO) – they will need to fund the product, they are looking for ROI…( the new solution will cost much less then the public hospitals solution)

Step 8: The other users of the product

At this point we already knew that the product is going to succeed.

Now we needed to address the needs of the secondary internal customers of the product

The “other” users In our case it was all the professionals that supported the patients: Doctors, nurses, social workers, pharmacists, dietitians, psychologists and medical coaches.
We needed to design the system for their own JTBD – Helping the patients to recover from the surgery. So they would be able to get their job done in the fastest and most accurate way and even enjoy while doing it by creating the best user experience.

Just a few examples for Game Changing Success Parameters (GCSP) of those secondary users:

  • Pharmacists wants to : Minimize the likelihood of prescribing the wrong medicine
  • Nurses wants to : Maximize the confidence that they are giving the best advice to the patient
  • Doctors wants to decide on the treatment that will : Minimize the risk for critical side effects ( the patients are at home ! )

Once you know what each of them wants, it’s just a matter of creating a great user experience for them 🙂

Step 9: Characterization & Development of the  Product

Once the analysis was completed ( the earlier 8 steps),  it was time to build the solution…

In many cases the product development process is damaged from misunderstandings and contrasting opinions of stakeholders ( the customer, Marketing, Sales, the graphic designer, the development team, the QA team,..), In this case, the process was easy because we all knew exactly:

  • What are the game changing success parameters (GCSP) that we need to address
  • Who are our real competitors
  • How the product will be working with our business partners

It was time to unleash the amazing talents of the rest of the team !

Step 10: Measuring..the right things !

Every business is familiar with Avinash Kaushik Measurement Model that describes how the business sets his Business objectives, Goals and KPI’s )

But all of those things are the RESULT !!! It tells the business WHERE they are NOW

It doesn’t tell them WHY and understanding why is specially important when you’re looking to have a long-term product success

After completion of the analysis the JTBD &  the game changing success parameters (GCSP) are clear, In order to remain successful we MUST measure the performance of the WHY KPI’s – the game changing success parameters (GCSP)

We’ve incorporated the measuring of those customer success indicators into the product design in the following way:

  1. The service was given to the patients by the professional team members in an online tele-sessions
  2. After some of the sessions the system triggered a process in which a different nurse would call to check how patients are doing
  3. She would ask them to rate (anonymously) the levels of the GCSP (pain/anxiety/uncertainty/..). – before and after the session.

This measurement helped us tuned in on how is the product actually performing on the things that matters the most to our job executors – the value he gave to the customers in the 3  FES dimensions ( Functional, Emotional, Social ).

Product Strategy &  Product roadmap

The product road map was influenced by many factors:

  • Finding innovative solutions for the GCSP of our customers ( With the highest importance level AND lowest satisfaction level)
  • Answer the needs of marketing and external business partners
  • And so on…

The one thing that impact the most on long-term product success is focusing on the GCSP of your Job executors.

Focus on your customers Game-Changing-Success-Parameters to achieve long-term Product success Click To Tweet

I will dive into the actual possible product strategies & the creation of the product road-maps in my next articles.

Conclusions

I was very fortunate to be part of the creation of this product, I still keep some of the thank you letters we got from customers who used the service and it made a profound impact on their life.

Also I was able to learn a lot from the customer in the unique process we had and we kept a fruitful relationship in the years that followed ( He even helped to save the life of my grandmother after she has gone through a surgery ).

I hope you’ve gained valuable insights on how you can achieve a long-term product success from this in-depth article.

you’re most welcome to leave a comment or Learn more about how I can Get results for YOUR business.