Have you ever thought about why customers buy your product? Is it because of your brand name or the product features and benefits, or maybe the persuasive copy written in the catalog? Or is it price?
There are many reasons because different customers have different needs. For instance, if a design engineer is working on a new device, he or she might be more influenced by a product’s features and benefits and how it meets the specifications required. Product life could be of interest based on the application. Price enters into the picture when the designer is constricted by an overall selling price for the device. Brand becomes important if it assures the buyer of your product’s quality, service life or unique benefit. So you can see there many different customer needs involved in a seemingly simple product purchase.
I had a client tell me recently that his firm had invested over a million dollars in licensing technology and in developing a plastic packaging product that would be 100% sustainable, cradle to cradle. It was a substitute product, taking the place of an existing product produced by another technology. Well, guess what? He went to market with this new revolutionary product, and his customers said, that’s nice, but I already have plenty of suppliers and I certainly won’t pay any more for it even though it is 100% sustainable. The moral to this story is: Don’t always believe that trends dictate a customer’s need. Yes, sustainability is a very common factor these days, but when it comes to the customer paying more, the answer is usually no.
Remember, there are companies and individuals every day with fantastic ideas or product improvements that believe their product will be successful. But how do they really know what will be successful? First of all, just because your colleagues, friends and relatives think it’s a good idea doesn’t seal the deal. It’s still all about customers’ needs. So next time you think about a new innovation, start with a market assessment along with good solid research. You and your pocketbook will be glad you did.