Get to the core of your customers' pain!
I have emphasized the importance of identifying a pain over and over again – and I am not about to stop anytime soon so you have to bear with me. This time around, however, I want to challenge you a little further and suggest that the initial identification of your pain is not enough.
What I mean and what I insist you do is to get to the core of your customers' pain by challenging yourself with the question “What is the pain behind the pain”? Because it is in that core pain that the potential for where you can identify an incredible value add in your company. This is not as hard as it sounds; you only have to ask yourself “Why do my customers (and end-users) have the pain, to begin with”?
Let’s walk you through what I am trying to express by using a real-life example of a food company. The pain they identified was: “80% of people don’t know what they’re making for dinner at 4 pm.” Of course, the company that identified this could have stayed with that pain and used it as a point of departure for identifying their customers and designing the painkiller. But I was invited to challenge them on how they could take the pain one step further. So, the answer to the question about the core pain turned into a very interesting question of why people don’t know what they are having for dinner at 4 pm. And by asking that question we started to nail what could be the pain of the first pain.
It turned out that there wasn’t only one answer to the food company’s search for the pain of the pain. Several suggestions came up: people don’t have time to think about dinner because they have so much to do at work, meaning that the core pain is lack of time. Another suggestion was that people lack ideas – even though they have the time and have thought about it during the day, suggesting a lack of inspiration as the core pain. A third suggestion was that people might not know what to have for dinner because they simply don’t want to be bothered by it (they might even skip dinner), thus the core pain being that they don’t care.
The answer a company finally chooses to the question about the core pain leads to quite different painkillers. Let’s think about the food company again. If it is that people don’t have the time, the painkiller could be an app with suggestions for ready to order, may be ready to eat meals. If it is that people don’t have any ideas but do have the time, it could be a subscription for recipes - maybe with a grocery-list (remembering what has been bought for previous recipes). But what about if the answer to the core pain is that people don’t care what they eat and even if they eat? Hmm… the solution could then be a gentle reminder to eat (mummy style) together with suggestions for where and how they could eat something nutritious without too much hassle and time commitment.
The core pain allows us to be more laser-focused. By keeping it in mind, we can take the painkiller one step further and include educational components, time management strategies, maybe even features that are not primarily related to the initial pain, or different challenges; fitness, home improvement, vacations – who knows!
In conclusion: taking the time to identify the core pain might put your business in a very different market space than what you originally envisioned. It might even be that by identifying the pain of the pain you create a new market space. That has happened; some of those who have made that transition successfully are referred to as Unicorns.
The idea with finding the core pain is that it allows you both to identify something more unique than if you stick to the first pain and, to offer a more appreciated pain killer. Your choice!