Doubling research data using different channels

Steven Timbers
3 min readJun 16, 2021
Photo by Carlos Muza on Unsplash

I recently attended a product leadership bootcamp and it cemented the importance of research and the different channels you can use. This is really the first hurdle for validating a product… finding the customers to speak to, it is also where you can very easily fail.

There are a whole host of ways for activating customers or potential customers to be involved in product research and changing the channel you select could greatly improve this. So…

What if I said…

“You can double your research data using different channels”

I say the above with a pinch of salt. You might not ever double this and the channel might not be the cause. What I will say is it is definitely something you need to explore.

What do I mean by a ‘Research Channel’?

When referring to a research channel I am basically saying how you contact a customer or potential customer to gain their input. This could be; phone, email, text, letter, forums or social media for example.

What channel is best for you?

There is no right answer to this. You could be led by resources available to you. The channels you choose might differ based on the type of research you are doing. Your company type and size might come into play on this. So selecting the right channel is difficult.

You have to…..

…Experiment

As with anything in product you are always looking to improve and iterate, this should be no different. Select a channel that you feel is right for your research and try it out. If your idea crashes at this point, don’t give up just yet! Change the channel and try again.

Using this method will help you to become clear on the data, if after changing channels your idea still crashes and gets zero data then you might be looking at a dud!

How I (more than) doubled response activation..

Well in short I did the above and experimented. I had taken aim and my audience was Product Leads; I started with close contacts but this was not a natural acquisition… more like a favour to me, moved to reaching out on linked in.. then finally got amazing traction using a sub-reddit aimed at Product Leads.

What that means in results…

  • Close contacts = 5 Quality interviews (not a natural acquisition)
  • LinkedIn = Minimal hits on target metric* (thought the idea was dead)

Then…

  • Sub-Reddit = 50+ hits on target metric* + Really great qualitative data in reddit comments < Probably my best source of validation

*Target metric was click throughs and page views

End Note

Treat every part of your product process as a mini-experiment and see how you can improve through iteration. I did this with the research channel in this instance but for you it might mean a slight change in the way its worded or some other item to help improve feedback.

Iterate > Make Mistakes > Learn.

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Steven Timbers

Product Professional focused on a user-centric constant feedback approach to achieve high performing products. www.steventimbers.com