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It is crucial to engage humans other than the one in your team in your endeavour. By speaking to people, you learn about their needs and wants, likes and dislikes.  Opening up the conversation helps you understand the realistic context for which you need to design and develop products and services people love to use. Before any interaction can take place, we need to make sure we have the right people to talk to. We are various options for sourcing participants. Below you find a list of ways to find participants that you might want to implement in your next project. 

How do corporates do it?


How does traditional business find out information about their customers and users? Usually, their methods include online surveys with current customers, outsourcing surveys with companies that give an incentive to users for responding and in-person focus groups. All of these traditional methods assume that the user will give truthful information about things that happened in the past and about their current thoughts and feelings.

How do startups approach it?

Focus groups get a little closer to real thoughts and feelings if they are presented with a new product, but even then, potential customers are asked questions out of a context in which they would actually use the product or service, which can result in data collection errors.
But there are alternatives to structured focus groups! Startups can have conversations – plenty of them – with as many people as possible. You can have conversations in person, through platforms and social networks (Facebook and Instagram) and by phone and chat. The idea is to collect as much information as possible from different sources. After a while, you will see trends and you will start to see saturation — several people who have something in common saying the same things. When you get to this point, you are on to something!

Here are 4 ways you can start getting the conversation going.

1. Ask your network of friends and family

Those closest to you know how hard you have worked to get where you are. They are also the ones rooting hardest for you. Have your friends and family members recruit at least two or three friends to use your project’s Pliik Agile Innovation platform (ideally people who don’t personally know you) so you can get more objective responses. 

2. Invite early adopters

Early adopters are usually really excited about the product or service you offer. You might have to get creative with how to contact them: email the company newsletter subscribers, sending out invitations to participate with the product itself (think about a tag or bookmark tied or stuck on the product), or affinity forums. The important thing is to make them feel special, or even part of an exclusive team. You might want to think of perks for those who participate, but we will talk about incentives in a separate post.

3. Interest Platforms

Think forums online forums, like Reddit, or LinkedIn groups of professionals who share interests related to your innovation. For example, if you are proposing a new cold brew coffee maker, you can find coffee enthusiast forums, brewing company forums or even coffee distributor forums where they are just as interested in learning about new technology as you are about getting their input.

4. Recruit Product Reviewers

There are people who are professional product reviewers, and many of them only ask for a free product or access to your service in exchange. Rather than just getting a video of when they first open your product or access your service, have them test it out and post about their experience through the Pliik platform. You can also direct what elements of their experience you want them to provide. You can find the sort of people you need on freelance websites like Upwork, or product reviewing sites like Authority Advisor or The Wirecutter.
In short, there are many ways that you can start recruiting potential users to give you ideas about things as general as their lifestyle choices, or as specific as to their needs, wants, and desires. The four ways to get the conversation going above have nothing to do with printing an ad in the newspaper or putting up fliers. If you are a little anxious, start small, and think of family and friends, and slowly graduate to inviting people on special interest platforms to talk about their experiences. The data you will collect, however much or little, will completely change the user experience and customer research game!

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