Researching Customers

Researching customers entails a systematic investigation into customer needs, preferences, behaviours, and trends to inform product strategy. This process involves both high-level market research and direct engagement with customers through interviews, ensuring a comprehensive understanding of the market and its participants.


The purpose of customer research is to ground product strategy and objectives in actual customer needs and market demands, thereby increasing the likelihood of product success. It helps to align product features with customer expectations, identify new market opportunities, and inform strategic decision-making.

  • Inform Product Strategy: Insights from research help guide product roadmap decisions and ensure the product aligns with customer needs.
  • Prioritise Stream Teams: Research helps identify areas of highest customer value, informing the funding prioritisation of stream teams.
  • Identify Cross-Stream Opportunities: Research can reveal opportunities for collaboration between stream teams to address broader customer needs.
  • Validate Assumptions: Research helps validate or challenge assumptions about customer needs and behaviours.


Industry Context

Most products fail to deliver the expected customer value because people make assumptions about what customers want without actually validating their assumptions. This leads to wasted time and resources building features that customers don't need or want. By conducting customer research, Product Teams can ensure that their products are aligned with customer needs and preferences, increasing the likelihood of success.

ZeroBlockers Context

Product Teams have a difficult challenge. They need to convert business objectives into product objectives, which is essentially taking educated guesses about what customer behaviours will result in the desired business outcomes. By conducting customer research, Product Teams can validate these assumptions and ensure that their product strategy is grounded in real customer needs.


Market Trend AnalysisConducting research on market trends, and emerging technologies to identify opportunities and threats.Keeps the product strategy aligned with market dynamics, identifies new opportunities.
Competitive AnalysisEvaluating competitors' products, strategies, and market positioning to identify gaps and opportunities.Helps differentiate the product, identify market gaps, and inform strategic decisions.
Segmenting CustomersDividing the market into distinct groups of customers with similar needs and characteristics to tailor the product strategy.Ensures the product meets the specific needs of targeted customer segments, enhancing market fit.
Creating a Customer Working GroupForming a group of customers to provide feedback on product ideas, features, and prototypes.Creates an easy way to gather customer insights, validates product concepts, and builds customer relationships.
Gathering Customer TestimonialsCollecting positive feedback and success stories from customers about their experiences with a product or service.Builds trust, enhances brand reputation, and supports marketing and sales efforts.

Who is responsible for this research?

The Product Manager is ultimately responsible for customer research, but they may be supported by a ResearchOps Enabling team, if one exists. The Product Manager will work closely with the ResearchOps team to design and execute research activities, analyse the results, and translate insights into actionable product strategies.


  • Limited Research Scope: Focusing solely on internal data or neglecting to gather external customer insights.
  • Assumption-Driven Development: Making decisions based on assumptions about customer needs without validating them through research.
  • Siloed Research Efforts: Failing to share customer insights across teams, leading to disjointed strategies and duplicated efforts.

Case Studies

Was this page helpful?

Becoming Self-Sufficient
© ZeroBlockers, 2024. All rights reserved.