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October 26, 2023 | Tom Ballard

Asia Orangio has a new way to think about customer discovery

She suggests it is the job-to-be-done and, more specifically, how to get your first 100 customers.

As Asia Orangio spoke on Thursday during a session at the “Startup Mountain Summit,” we could not help but reflect on the importance of customer discovery and the process that is embraced by the I-Corps program.

The Atlanta-based Founder and Chief Executive Officer of DemandMaven had a slightly different take on the topic, focusing on what she described as the job-to-be-done (JTBD) and, more specifically, how to get your first 100 customers. It’s an area she consults in on a regular basis.

Using a new milkshake to illustrate the process, Orangio asked, “Did we understand why they are buying (it)?” Her point was that “customers don’t buy the thing. They buy what the thing helps them accomplish.”

Asia Orangio

She added, “Desired outcomes are what the customer wants to achieve.” That could be to address struggles they are experiencing, wishes they have, or both.

To help those in the audience think about the process, she offered three fill-in the blank areas: “When I _(struggle)_, help me _(with)_, so I can _(achieve this desired outcome)_.”

Like what we have heard repeatedly about the importance of customer discovery, Orangio said start-up founders must understand why their customers “hire your product” and “what are they firing.”

“Talking to customers is how we understand their jobs,” she said.

Orangio recommended a minimum of 10 interviews to get started and at least that many each quarter thereafter. That’s because the market is constantly evolving.

“Research helps us become more strategic and become more successful,” she added.


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