Customer Discovery: How much data is sufficient?


1

I am doing a Customer Discovery phase (as per Customer Development model by Steven G. Blank). In this step I need to have to identify the following:

  1. The customer has a problem.
  2. The customer understands he or she has a problem.
  3. The customer is actively searching for a solution and has a timetable for finding it.
  4. The problem is painful enough that the customer has cobbled together an interim solution.
  5. The customer has committed, or can quickly acquire, budget dollars to solve the problem.

I have launched a survey and have a few responses. Question is - how many responses are enough for concluding that this is a viable market? I understand it depends on the market, product and demographic size, but how do you guesstimate this if you don't have such data?

Customers Statistics Survey

asked May 15 '12 at 08:05
Blank
Mvbl Fst
144 points
  • Enough for what? Sufficient for what? Sufficient for how long? – Joseph Barisonzi 9 years ago
  • To conclude that there is a valid market, today, in 2012 )) – Mvbl Fst 9 years ago
  • PS @JosephBarisonzi, you seem to be annoyed with my question. I don't appreciate that. And your follow up questions also don't seem practical, FYI. – Mvbl Fst 9 years ago
  • @mvblfst "How many is enough?" is a very vague question. In order to receive a good answer, you should state your goals, such as abandoning the project. – Dnbrv 9 years ago
  • @dnbrv I am not a statistics major and sorry if I don't ask the right question. I meant "how many responses" and enough "for concluding that this is a viable market". – Mvbl Fst 9 years ago
  • I am sorry that you interpret my clarifying questions as an expression of annoyance. I am also sorry that you don't find it to be practical. Based on my experience which you may or may not find valid I find that knowing the actual purpose of the data collection is an important element to assessing the validity of the research model. – Joseph Barisonzi 9 years ago
  • I guess it's just the way you say it. I am pretty new here. I am in general perplexed by negative reactions to my questions. I asked 2 questions, this one has -1 votes, another one has -2 votes... why? Are they bad questions? Too dumb? Too obvious? I don't get this... – Mvbl Fst 9 years ago
  • @mvbl fst I wouldn't get so annoyed with people that are trying to get to the root of your question. Can't speak to your other question, but this question is not dumb, just difficult to answer without clarification. I would also add that a number of responses would hopefully prove / disprove your assumptions - not necessarily verify whether the segment is viable. And different people may have different views on what consistutes viability - examples would be: self funding vs VC / Angel funding, or supporting a staff of 5 vs 1. Good luck. – Jim Galley 8 years ago

2 Answers


2

It depends on the product, so the best approach is to know the demand of the product, how many people use/buy the product. Once you get that number you will be able to estimate.

  1. The customer has a problem.
  2. The customer understands he or she has a problem.
  3. The customer is actively searching for a solution and has a timetable for finding it.
  4. The problem is painful enough that the customer has cobbled together an interim solution.
  5. The customer has committed, or can quickly acquire, budget dollars to solve the problem.

If you know that there is 1000 individuals having the "problem" and you get 100 surveys you will know what the 10% of these people think about the "problem".

Out of that 10% (100 individuals) you can get the average like: 1 out of 10 think that bla bla bla.

You must know the starting number (how many individuals have the problem). If the number is low your percentage of surveys will be high and vise versa, but there will be cases where you will need to have a minimum that works for you, is realistic, and doesn't affect or misrepresent the truth.

Individuals with the problem Surveys

1 to 1000 1 to 100 -> 100%
1000 to 10.000 100 to 1000 -> 10% This would be your minimum
Let's say 100.000 individuals have the "problem". It may not be viable for you to survey the 100.000 individuals (100%) so, you may try to survey 10% (10.000 individuals). But, still this may not be viable, so what to do in this case? Reform the survey so the number of individuals having the problem is more flexible to your capabilities or hire more people for the surveys :)
answered Jun 10 '12 at 10:26
Blank
User983248
489 points

1

Review what makes a statistically valid sample and what is margin of error and possibly use a sample size calculator and adjust accordingly (tip: the number is likely smaller than you'd think).

More important is to back up statistical claims with some methodology vs winging it - you may chose the wrong metric, but at least there was some thought behind it.

If you are attempting to generate stats for funding, many times the VCs will set the bar at what they consider an "acceptable population" so all bets on what the "correct" number is off.

answered Sep 5 '12 at 02:54
Blank
Jim Galley
9,952 points
  • So it shows sample size of 120 for population of 50M with confidence interval of 9, and confidence level of 95%? Yes, it's a much lower number than I thought. – Mvbl Fst 8 years ago

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