Uncover Your Product's Potential

By Glory Enyinnaya | 1 min read
13th January 2021
Uncover Your Product's Potential

"Think Different"

- Steve Jobs, Founder of Apple

Entrepreneurship arises from the improvement of the status quo. Such improvement can be incremental or revolutionary. Regardless of the magnitude of the innovation, the bottom line is that such improvement must be profitable,

One way to uncover the hidden potential of existing products is the use of the ACE Matrix. Designed by two American professors, Ian MacMillan and Rita McGrath, the use of the ACE Matrix can uncover opportunities to create new products from gaps in existing products.

 The process can be summarized as follows:

  • Identify the product's salient attributes:
    • What is it used for?
    • Who uses it?
    • When is it used?
    • How is it used?
    • Why is it used?
  • Identify positive attributes: Select one of the key user groups and answer the following questions:
    • What are the positive attributes of the product which the user expects? These are non-negotiables
    • What are the positive attributes of the product which distinguishes it from the competition? These are differentiators
    • What are the positive attributes of the product which are unique, and hence the reason for a purchase decision? These are exciters
  • Identify negative attributes:
    • What are the negative attributes of the product which the user expects? These are tolerables
    • What are the negative attributes of the product which competitors have succeeded in eliminating? These are dissatisfiers
    • What are the negative attributes of the product which make the user buy from the competition? These are enragers
  • Validate assumptions: Once you have mapped out your assumptions about how users react to the product, these assumptions must be validated. Useful techniques for this validation include:
    • Focus groups
    • Discussions with lead customers and distributors
    • Test marketing
    • Observation
  • Design improvements: Select each negative attribute and try to convert it into a positive attribute as follows:
    • Dissatisfiers into differentiators
    • Enragers into exciters
    • Your competitors' tolerables into dissatisfiers

In conclusion, the table below provides the actions you must take to improve on the salient attributes of your target product:

BASIC            DISCRIMINATORENERGIZER
POSITIVENON-NEGOTIABLE                      DIFFERENTIATOR      EXCITER
Perform at least as well as competitors but not much betterPerform better than competitors if attribute is salient to target customersPerform better than competitors
NEGATIVETOLERABLE        DISSATISFIERENRAGER
Perform no worse than competitors but not much betterPerform better than competitors and correct problem soonCorrect problem at any cost; capitalize on competitors' enragers



 

Glory Enyinnaya
Glory is an international business consultant who has advised over 200 entrepreneurs for clients such as the Centre for Global Enterprise (New York), the Entrepreneur Scan (Netherlands) and the International Business Accelerator (United States). She helps her clients launch new businesses, write business plans and access capital for expansion. You can download her free Entrepreneurship Roadmap and learn more at www.gloryenyinnaya.com.
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