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What questions should I ask customers when testing the viability of a CPG or consumer product idea?

This is a Quora question. My answer is as follows:

I find that asking people directly about a product idea does not yield the most informative answers. A better approach is to focus more on the outcome that the idea delivers in the context of what need or pain the potential customer is experiencing.

Consider the following approach and questions:

  1. Scene or situation: focus on the moment of frustration. What is going on? What is the user about to attempt?
  2. Desired Outcome. What is the user trying to accomplish? Why is this important?
  3. Attempted approach. Without the new product, how does the user go about the task?
  4. Interfering Factors. What goes wrong? How and why does it go wrong?
  5. Economic Consequences. So what? What is the impact of the user failing to accomplish the task productively?

Outcomes can satisfy benefits across different spectrums – financial, emotional, physical, and spiritual – so be aware of that when qualifying answers/data in your research.