4 Feedback Disciplines All Product Managers Should Know

Back in the day, there were fewer formalized types of customer feedback. Product managers would wait weeks or even months for feedback to trickle in once the product was on the market. But in today’s complex, heavily software-focused landscape, it’s unrealistic to wait so long.

Products need to interact seamlessly with other devices — even as technology as a whole continues to evolve. This makes collecting real-world feedback throughout development more vital than ever.

Today’s product managers have many practices for collecting customer feedback at their disposal. Within those practices, there are four essential disciplines — Market Research, User Experience Research, Customer Experience, and Customer Validation — that you as a product manager must understand to not just survive but also thrive in today’s technological landscape.

Let’s take a quick look at where each one fits in the product’s lifecycle and how it supports customer-centric decision-making.

4 Feedback Disciplines All Product Managers Should Know

Concept Phase: Market Research

Market research data helps you define your product by looking closely at market needs and shape your idea into something that resonates with your audience.

Common Market Research Methods

  • Surveys
  • Interviews
  • Focus groups

The Big Takeaway for Product Managers

Market Research provides insights that aid in product ideation and market positioning. It also shows you how your product is performing as it matures.

4 Feedback Disciplines All Product Managers Should Know

Design Phase: User Experience Research

User Experience (UX) Research is used to study the viability of product concepts, as well as optimize product design and functionality based on user interactions.

Common UX Research Methods

  • Usability tests
  • A/B tests
  • Ethnographies

The Big Takeaway for Product Managers

Product managers benefit from UX Research by gaining a better understanding of how the product’s design impacts users’ ability to interact with and to use it as intended.

4 Feedback Disciplines All Product Managers Should Know

Pre-Release and Post-Launch: Customer Validation

Customer Validation (CV) provides insight into your customers’ initial reactions to your product through continuous, pre-release testing. CV data helps you deliver a better experience by highlighting how to improve your product before new updates reach the market.

Common CV Methods

  • Alpha testing
  • Beta testing
  • Delta testing

The Big Takeaway for Product Managers

Product managers rely on Customer Validation because it provides early customer insights about their product or update at a time when they can still make improvements.

4 Feedback Disciplines All Product Managers Should Know

Market Phase: Customer Experience

Customer Experience (CX) Research looks at all of the touchpoints a consumer has with your product or brand and attempts to optimize that experience to build loyalty.

Common CX Research Methods

  • Product usage analytics
  • Surveys
  • Shop-alongs

The Big Takeaway for Product Managers

Product managers value Customer Experience Research because the journey their customers take to find, purchase, and possibly repurchase products is critical to understanding both their perceptions and overall expectations for a product or brand.

Ready to dig deeper? Get the full version of this snippet in The Product Managers’ Guide to Understanding Customers. It reveals easy-to-grasp strategies for identifying what feedback you need and when to apply it for maximum impact.

Get the Complete Guide to Customer Feedback Here

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