Let's talk about why designers need to design customer intelligent products. And why now?
The old paradigm of siloed product design is dead. Product design today is inextricably linked to business strategy and financial performance.
I recently shared HOW designers and companies can create customer intelligent products with an enthusiastic group of designers at the Industrial Design Society of America's Western Region Conference. I wanted to address the WHY in this blog post.
Product design can make or break a company’s business strategy and financial performance.
Design has been integral in the comeback of the American automobile industry in the past few years. Design is integral to the successful adoption of new innovations in that industry, just ask Tesla Motors. Intelligent design can be a make or break proposition for companies in highly competitive, highly commoditized industries such as solar panels. And breakthrough customer experience design sets Virgin Atlantic above the fray in that highly competitive industry.
What are some of the things a customer intelligent design will do for your company (or your client, if you are an external design services provider)?
1. Increase sales velocity. People line up to buy well designed products. Just ask Apple-the long lines outside their stores are a product of great design. Without their intense dedication and drive to surpass all expectations on design, people would not line up. And velocity builds on itself and in Apple's case, causes sales acceleration every time they launch a product which in turn reflects on their stock’s financial performance.
2. Decreased ad spending. Customer intelligent product designs are by their very nature tribal and social. People identify with them, bond with them and want to talk about them. Well-conceived product designs do their marketing departments a BIG favor-decreasing the amount of ad spending required to launch and carry forward sales momentum. The customer is the ultimate lever that does the heavy lifting in place of heavy spending.
3. Decreased price elasticity. Well-conceived products rise above the "red oceans" of competing products. Once again, we cite Apple as an example. When you have decided you want an iPad or an iWatch, the cost of alternatives is not a factor, even when less expensive alternatives exist. The trick is to make people want an iPad and not a tablet (or iXXXX) and superior product design does the trick each and every time.
Product design has risen to become the new competitive weapon of this decade. The best companies flex this muscle through great product and customer experience designs. And Wall Street rewards great product design!
Alan Nazarelli is President and CEO of Silicon Valley Research Group, a global market research and strategy development firm focused on the needs of technology companies.