Law 4: One Hundred Customers (They can’t be wrong!) - Lorraine Marchand

Insights from Leaders
3 min readApr 16, 2021
Lorraine Marchand

A life sciences consultant, speaker, writer, and professor — Professor Marchand is an expert at showing entrepreneurs how to communicate the value of their innovations to investors. Professor Lorraine Marchand is bringing forth the key to innovation in her upcoming book ‘The Innovation Mindset’.

We are in an ongoing conversation with Lorraine to discuss her upcoming book The Innovation Mindset. Our monthly conversations with her will give readers a sneak-peek into what’s to come, and how to obtain an innovation mindset. During this conversation, Professor Marchand tells us about her fourth law of innovation.

Lorraine, in the past few months you have provided us with some interesting insights into your upcoming book. We have now reached the Fourth Law— tell us more about that.

“In my book The Innovation Mindset, I share the evidence-based approach to innovation that I have used to help more than 200 business leaders and entrepreneurs. They have been able to successfully launch profitable new products and services, across a wide array of industries. The next chapter of the book covers “The Law of One Hundred Customers (they can’t be wrong!)”

“You can’t innovate by sitting in your office — you have to go out and talk to influencers, stakeholders, and mainly customers. In this chapter, we examine the often missed opportunity to do high-quality customer research, early in product development, to confirm need, design, market opportunity, and importantly, prove that someone is willing to pay for our innovation.

“For example, I worked with a startup launching a new innovative lightweight guitar, designed for backpackers. It was only after several dozen interviews, the inventors learned that a better market was parents introducing music to their kids. The kid version of their guitar was their top seller. By the way, I just want to point out that paying for a solution isn’t always in financial terms.

“Pay” isn’t always a financial term. We discuss other forms of “payment” including the cost of switching from a current product or way of doing something and trying something new. We look at why people may be hesitant to change. And we talk about why, when we say one hundred customers, we mean one hundred customers. Your research may take a number of different forms: surveys, small groups, and one-to-one interviews. You need to communicate with one hundred potential customers to confirm that your innovation addresses a problem worth solving and that a customer is willing to pay for it.”

Thank you for reminding readers of the importance of testing a product or service on many customers. It’s essential.



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