Product-driven businesses vs customer-driven businesses 🗣

Identify the differences and impact of product vs customer-driven businesses

In Episode 7 of Season 1, David Gurle goes through his journey building Symphony, a platform that offers encrypted chat-based collaboration to financial institutions and firms of all sizes, using bots and automation to improve everyday workflows.

David explains the interesting debate between product driven businesses and customer driven businesses, and what they truly are. Because aren’t all businesses supposed to be product-driven AND customer-driven? Not entirely! So we’ll explore what makes them different, to choose which strategy best would fit your company/solutions.

Both product-driven and customer-driven businesses do focus on growth and profitability, but the approaches are totally different:

🧰 Product-Driven Businesses

Product-driven businesses are focused on developing a product first, and then finding a market for it. It is essentially operating under the assumption that great products = great customers, which in turn bring more profit and revenue.

Imagine a room with 4 walls, filled with individuals who will brainstorm ideas and develop a product without accounting the current state of the market, or specific needs and preferences of the users/customers.

The company’s organization are usually focused on the product -  design, features, functionalities and manufacturing, with its other departments acting as support for the product, including HR and finance. Their marketing and sales teams will be responsible for taking the products built and introducing it to the market.

In a product-driven business, products are actually managed as independent business units or even standalone businesses. Team members will be assigned to each, with a product manager kind of taking a role of the CEO of that product.

🙋‍♂️ Examples of Product Driven Businesses

Apple is one example of a product-driven business, with their executives and designs making the major decisions for the next steps of the company. In Amazon, their product managers are also the ones that decide what to put out in the marketplace. Engineers of Meta are the ones who say which features to introduce.

🏃‍♀️ Customer-Driven Businesses

Also known as a market-driven business, customer-driven businesses are mainly rooted from pain points they’ve seen from people. They would come up with solutions, bring them out to market, and finish developing products based on customer feedback. Unlike product-driven businesses, customer-driven businesses are exactly that - they focus on the customers and the market movements.

Customer-driven businesses operate on the assumption that it can only survive if customers needs are met, and that they are satisfied.

This business makes high efforts on delivering quality products, services and experiences, and ensures excellent customer support.

As product development in customer-driven businesses is based on what customers want, market research plays a huge role in its development. And based on the information collected, the product development team would then come up with solutions and designs that would address those needs.

🙋‍♀️ Customer-Driven Business Examples

Samsung for example, is a great example of customer-driven businesses. Although they have not revolutionized the smartphone as Apple has, it did focus on listening to users to making more affordable alternatives - which they proceeded in to rival with Apple. Dreamworks also focuses on getting suggestions from their customers and team members. provided a solution to help teams with their workflows and task management, and regularly improves it to meet customer needs and demands.

Product-driven and customer-driven businesses are different business approaches to bringing a product or service out to market.

Product-driven businesses focus on innovating new products and building new needs, whilst customer-driven businesses are focused on solving pain points of customers and satisfying needs and demands.

Neither approaches are “better” than the other, but think about the approach you would want for your business and focus on doing it better than anyone else!

💥 Bonus:

David’s top tips for entrepreneurs

📝 There is no recipe or secret sauce to product development or entrepreneurship. Just do.
🧰 Be resourceful.
Do what you can to answer questions you don’t know to build your business.
👥 Surround yourself with the right people,
the ones that make you feel greater together than when you’re alone. Get rid of the wrong ones as fast.

🎧 Listen now on your favorite podcast channels

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About me

I've been helping entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs and innovators build their tech products since 2016!

Bringing outstanding products to life is not easy. But despite that, it's an amazing journey for anyone who wants to innovate, make a change or an impact in any industry.

So I wanted to get on the mic, meet with amazing founders/makers, and share all of their crazy journeys and experiences with you. I hope it educates, inspires and entertains you. Enjoy! ;)



Morgan is the Co-Founder & CEO of Sparkmate. They've built 100+ high-tech products and ventures to solve tomorrow's challenges!