As mentioned earlier, probably the most important question to address during Product Discovery is whether customers would actually value a product, i.e. eventually buy it and decide to use it.
As mentioned already when introducing Understanding the Four Risks in Product Development, it is on the customer alone to decide whether or not they will buy and use a product or service. Of course, specifically for consumers, marketing and advertising can help to generate a certain level of demand. But, in the end, there has to be an unmet need at customers. And while the supplier of a new product or service can work on solving problems around usability, feasibility and viability — the customer value is beyond their control.
As a somewhat funny example, imagine drinking needs of your beloved pet. Back in 1994, the producer of Thirsty Dog! and Thirsty Cat! thought it is a great idea to offer flavored water in bottles. Well, needless to say that only very few people were willing to spend their money in it rather than taking water from the tap. Clearly lack of value.
Dating back to 1943, Maslow's hierarchy of needs helps to understand the needs of humans beings and to organize them in a hierarchical fashion indication that the lower needs must be met before an individual can aim for higher level needs.
While a framework generally applicable in psychology, it is still too abstract to help understanding value of new products.
In 2016, Bain & Company published an article in the Harvard Business Review decomposing the needs of consumers when selecting a product. By way of 30 specific "elements of value" they describe specific product attributes behind consumer value statements thereby digging deeper and also making the actual product attribute a bit more tangible.
For example, when someone says her bank is “convenient,” its value derives from some combination of the functional elements saves time, avoids hassle, simplifies, and reduces effort.
As with Maslow's hierarchy of needs, these values are also arranged in a hierarchy — assuming, for example, some a product needs to be functional and just do the job before emotions and having fun come into play.
As discussed in B2C vs. (Enterprise) B2B, there are significant differences between B2C and B2B when it comes to Product Management. To address some of them, Bain & Company, in 2018, published an update of their framework now adapting it to the B2B world.
Again organized in a hierarchy, the values have been adjusted for the needs of buyers, decision makers and gatekeepers in a business context. For example, meeting specifications and being compliant are essential values which, however, are becoming more and more commodity. Hence, higher level values, such as enhancing reputation or reducing anxiety are becoming ever more important.