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Four Strategies For Developing Tech Products For Specific Demographics

Forbes Technology Council
Stephen DalbyForbes Councils Member
Forbes Technology Council
COUNCIL POST
Expertise from Forbes Councils members, operated under license. Opinions expressed are those of the author.
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Founder of Gabb Wireless Inc., the first nationwide cellular network for kids.

He's in a great productive mood

Getty

Most tech isn't going to be every single person's cup of tea, and it's not supposed to be. Good tech is designed with a specific user in mind. Tech developers take into consideration their target demographic's wants and needs to develop tech that will solve their problems and be the most useful for them.

Take Apple's Mac computer, for example. It is geared toward those willing to dish out their cash for a sleek design. It also tends to attract early adopters of new tech. Apple is considering all of that information when it designs its computers.

My story is a little different, but it still involves age demographics as a key product development factor. My product is at the other end of the age spectrum, as it is made specifically for kids. While an adult could use it, they most likely wouldn't want to because of the limited functionality. Yet I had to also consider adults when making the product because parents would want to understand its value and how it worked. The point again is that age isn't always a black-and-white demographic to use for tech product development. 

Here's what I've learned about developing tech products for specific demographics that you could apply to your own tech product development efforts and any unique demographic audience you might serve.

PROMOTED

1. Differentiate your specific demographic from the rest 

When you have a certain demographic in mind for your technology product, you must have had some idea of why you thought that segment needed what you are building. Use your idea of what you think they need and build on that by doing extensive market research. You want to uncover everything about that demographic you can to understand their motivations, pain points and perspectives. 

When it came to my smartphone for kids, I had to do that deep dive into research with both kids and parents to understand all of the aforementioned areas. For example, I had to understand what features and design kids were wanting in a smartphone all while keeping parents top of mind. I then had to make those two potentially differing views fit into one tech product. Other tech product segments may not be as complex and only involve one audience segment and how they differ from any other segment.

2. See life through their eyes

Part of that research for developing a tech product for a specific demographic goes beyond collecting data. It means looking at life the way through the same lens that your audience segment would to better understand why they have certain pain points, interests or motivations. 

It can be challenging in some respects, especially if you're further removed from your demographic. In addressing my dual segment of kids and parents, I was fortunate to have my own children for their perspectives and my parental experience to use as a basis. That all helped me understand what kids want and how parents see certain situations related to screentime and child protection. 

For others, it may require user interviews and even trying a "day in the life" experiment to live like their audience segment to see what's different about how they see and live their lives. From there, it may be easier to understand how to develop an ideal tech product.

3. Understand the impact of their external environment 

While the internal and mental aspect of understanding your target demographic is important, you also need to consider the external environment around them. It's important to know how this impacts the type of tech product they might need or want. 

Considerations might include peers and influencers, trends, risks and threats, and legislative or social changes in society. All of these can impact your audience's motivations and perspectives, so it's important to see how these may or may not impact the type of tech product you may want to develop. 

For me, having the "coolest tech" was a big factor in developing my phone. Kids don't want clunky, old-looking technology. They'd likely be the butt of jokes with their friends and they may stand out like a sore thumb. These factors helped me land on the sleek, modern design that was my finished product.

4. Look for other demographic connections and opportunities

Although you may be focused on one demographic, it may be advantageous to explore other segments to see if the tech product you are developing for one segment might work for another as is or with some slight adaptations. 

This may take considerable research and additional time, so it's best to focus on the initial audience and launch a product to see how it does. From there, the ongoing research into other audience segments can be further explored for further market opportunities.

Seeking to help

When developing a tech product, rely on your passion and drive to help your audience by making their lives easier, safer, balanced and healthy. My biggest goal with my own tech product was to create something that helps kids spend less time on their phones and more time living their lives, and that aim played a huge factor in the development of the phone. If you follow your passion and your mission, you can feel good knowing you have made something that drives significant change and improves the world.


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Summary | 19 Annotations
Four Strategies For Developing Tech Products For Specific Demographics
2020/07/03 15:48
Good tech is designed with a specific user in mind
2020/07/03 15:48
Tech developers take into consideration their target demographic's wants and needs to develop tech that will solve their problems and be the most useful for them.
2020/07/03 15:49
My product is at the other end of the age spectrum, as it is made specifically for kids
2020/07/03 15:49
oduct is at the other end of the age spectrum, as it is made specifically for kids
2020/07/03 15:49
The point again is that age isn't always a black-and-white demographic to use for tech product development
2020/07/03 15:49
1. Differentiate your specific demographic from the rest 
2020/07/03 15:49
Use your idea of what you think they need and build on that by doing extensive market research.
2020/07/03 15:49
When it came to my smartphone for kids, I had to do that deep dive into research with both kids and parents to understand all of the aforementioned areas.
2020/07/03 15:50
2. See life through their eyes
2020/07/03 15:50
Part of that research for developing a tech product for a specific demographic goes beyond collecting data. It means looking at life the way through the same lens that your audience segment would to better understand why they hav
2020/07/03 15:50
It can be challenging in some respects, especially if you're further removed from your demographic. In addressing my dual segment of kids and parents, I was fortunate to have my own children for their perspectives and my parental experience to use as a basis
2020/07/03 15:50
3. Understand the impact of their external environment 
2020/07/03 15:50
It's important to know how this impacts the type of tech product they might need or want. 
2020/07/03 15:50
Considerations might include peers and influencers, trends, risks and threats, and legislative or social changes in society
2020/07/03 15:50
For me, having the "coolest tech" was a big factor in developing my phone. Kids don't want clunky, old-looking technology
2020/07/03 15:50
4. Look for other demographic connections and opportunities
2020/07/03 15:50
Seeking to help
2020/07/03 15:51
When developing a tech product, rely on your passion and drive to help your audience by making their lives easier, safer, balanced and healthy.
2020/07/03 15:51