The article is based on an interview with Peter Eckart. Watch the video or read the article below.

Navigating today’s dynamic markets is challenging. Companies are faced with uncertainty but also hidden opportunities. 

Traditional methods of trend prediction, often reliant on industry reports and algorithms, can leave businesses feeling like they’re flying blind. 

However, there’s a more reliable source: the voice of your customer.

Peter Eckart, a 10EQS Collaboration Manager, advocates for a paradigm shift in market research. He urges businesses to move beyond their narrow silos and actively listen to customers up and down the value chain

Understanding the Value Chain

“The first framework you have to have in mind is what is really the value chain looking like so that you understand a little bit the entire environment you’re in,” Eckart explains.

Then, Eckart’s approach emphasizes direct customer engagement through interviews, surveys, and other methods. 

“Focusing solely on internal perspectives and industry trends can create blind spots,” he explains. “The true insights often lie downstream, with the customers who ultimately drive your success.”

He discussed an example of the space industry, where companies often fixate on developing launchers and satellites, neglecting the needs of downstream users who utilize satellite data for applications like GPS and remote sensing. 

By engaging directly with potential customers in diverse industries like finance, agriculture, and insurance, his team uncovered previously untapped opportunities for data captured in space to improve their operations.

The Power of Voice of the Customer Interviews

The key, however, lies in strategic engagement. While comprehensive market research remains valuable, Eckart highlights the surprising power of focused voice of the customer interviews. 

“Just a handful of well-chosen customer interviews,” he says, “can yield a wealth of actionable insights.” He emphasizes the cost-effectiveness and efficiency of this approach, calling it “an investment that delivers high returns.”

He’s been surprised by how few interviews it takes to get actionable insights. “I’ve done the magic with five or six interviews, and I myself am sometimes positively shocked if I just gather the input from five or six potential customers and put them on slides and provide a readout.”

Adapting Interviews to Your Product Development Stage

The ideal customer engagement strategy, however, requires adaptability. For nascent ideas, open-ended discussions exploring general needs and challenges are crucial. 

As development progresses, the focus can shift towards specific product features and service requirements. Understanding the customer’s unique business context is critical for meaningful interaction regardless of the product development stage.

Eckart acknowledges that no business operates in isolation. He encourages collaboration with organizations like 10EQS, which combines expert interviews with surveys and secondary research to provide a comprehensive view of the market landscape

Turning Market Awareness Into Actionable Insights

By harnessing the collective power of customer insights, businesses can navigate market uncertainties with greater clarity and make informed decisions that unlock sustainable growth.

While industry reports may offer a glimpse into the future, they often lack the nuance and depth needed for true market awareness. 

By prioritizing direct customer engagement and leveraging the power of focused interactions, businesses can unlock actionable insights and chart a course toward success in even the most turbulent market conditions.

Contact us if you need support uncovering trends and opportunities within your industry. We’d be happy to help you.