Market Requirements Document (MRD)
What is a Market Requirements Document or MRD? An MRD is the documentation of the homework that is needed by organizations to understand how best to serve a customer community, their ability to serve the customer community, and if the rewards for serving the customer community merit the investments that are required.
Organizations seek to serve customer communities based on their assessment of their capabilities and who they perceive might derive benefits from the use of these capabilities. Therefore, the MRD is a hypothesis that is being proven or disproven. For organizations, already serving the customer community, the hypothesis to be proven might be how better to serve the customer community by introducing new innovative products and/or services, or it might be to enrich the customer experience in doing business with the organization (i.e. more awareness as to who, what, why and how customers are and how they want to be sold products/services, making it easier to do business…). Either way, the starting points are always:
- Assess what are our “Abilities” including engineering, market presence, access to channels
- Who are or what customer communities do we serve or intend to serve with our abilities
Once the decision has been made to attempt to serve a customer community, then the MRD process is undertaken to explore what:
- What “Need” or “Problem” of the customer community can our organization provide a “Fit” the “Solution”? Do we know the customer community: Business and operational model, Industry pressures (i.e. market maturity, government regulations, competition), Technological readiness, Solution readiness (i.e. how innovative / disruptive are potential solutions)
- Why would the customer community want our Solution: What customer emotional need could we satisfy? What customer operational improvement could we provide? What would be the customer “Value” motivating them to avail themselves of our products/service? What would the operational and financial impact be to the customer organization be (i.e. provide competitive advantages, increase revenues, lower costs, mitigate risks)?
- Why would they buy from us… does the customer trust us to provide quality solutions and does the customer feel comfortable and enjoy the experience of having acquired our products and/or services and want to continue our relationship?
- Where would the customer expect to find our products and/or services to be provided (i.e. what sales, support, maintenance channel, what brick and mortar or online store)?
Once the MRD is chartered to discover the answers to these questions, where do we start?
We learn from Geoffrey A. Moore, author of Crossing the Chasm, that each customer community has those members that fulfill a role in the community based on their leadership traits.
It is valuable to look to this model to help us focus on the best ways to get the MRD answers.
It helps to understand the customer community in terms of the leaders and followers. The leaders (i.e. Early Adopters) have already recognized their needs and problems and are already looking for fit and solutions. In addition, the industry looks to them to lead the way. The Early Adopters are much better at articulating answers to the MRD questions, oftentimes want to have access to solutions “now”, are willing to be Beta test sites in order to obtain early access to solution capabilities… a competitive advantage, may wish to provide R&D funding, and are willing to share their customer experience story with others in the customer community (i.e. assert their leadership role). They know that Early Major, Late Major competitors follow their lead.
Therefore, the MRD starting point is to focus on Early Adopters. The Early Adopters are recognized by their customer community peers and industry profiles provide excellent starting points to identify Early Adopters.
Once the MRD is completed and the organization decides to go forward with the introduction of a new product and/or service, the next step is to develop the Go-To-Market plan, form the cross functional Program Team (i.e. stakeholders), get the stakeholders up to speed and committed to the program’s success, and provide the necessary Operational Plan resources to execute the program.
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If you would like to learn more about how Prism Market Requirements Document services can improve your ability to serve customer communities, contact us at MRD@prismbusdev.com or call us (720) 352-3407.