Eat your own dogfood


Test your product. And yourself.


Use your own product within the next 24 hours. Just do it! Write down your first impression and experiences from the user’s point of view. Nothing can replace your own experience (at least for most brands and products). A photo or video to document and reflect those experiences often works wonders.


Done? Good. Now compare it with competing products. Compare as a user does it – because that’s what you are right now. Which one is the easiest to use? Which one is the cheapest? Which one looks / feels / tastes best? Which one do you like most? Which one would you buy? Write down your answers as well.


Now reflect again: Did your product beat the competition in every category? Then chances are high that you have just been cheating yourself: If your product is so incredibly outstanding – why is there still such thing as a competition? So please re-think and rewrite your answers.


Now that your competition experience should be as real as your user experience, you’re ready to increase the number of users from One to Five. Think of five users for your product. Give each of them a name, an age, a job, a life – describe them as personas. Additionally: Describe personas for the competing products: Who does not buy or use your product? The personas you describe are your first impression of customer segmentation – it is as important as your first user experience.


Now challenge your results. Share them with your peers and with your customer support. Compare them with the results of market reports. The brave ones organize a focus group or online panel with users and non-users. If you’ve never done this before, get someone with customer insight to join you. Basic rule: Listen first, analyze later.


Now it’s time to rethink again about the differences between your impressions and your company’s impression. About how you sense your customer, and how your company treats your customer. Maybe you change your mind after challenging your first impressions – then write down what you have learned. Maybe you get the impression that your company should change its behavior towards customers – then just redo it.