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Is The Customer Always Right?

Sean Parnell - Tuesday, November 27, 2012

In Marketing 101, we are all taught to believe that customers and clients are always right. But what if they cannot articulate what they want, especially when it comes to new products and services?

Faster Horses

This often happens when they have a problem and there is no current technology or solution that addresses their need. To illustrate this point, Henry Ford famously said, "If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said, 'faster horses'."

Pro Audio Example

For example, we worked with a professional audio equipment manufacturer whose customers said they needed a cover for their sound system equipment to prevent mischievous audience members from meddling with the well thought-out parameters set up by an audio professional.

Rather than making a cover, which people could still get around with paper clips and the like (which happened on competitive products), we removed all controls from the front panel and made the system controllable only via PC with a standard DB9 cable. In this way, the settings could be preserved and there would be no way for an audience member to be that mischievous...

This prevented the dreaded "call-backs" that eradicated sound contractor profitability and led the product to redefine the category and become the #1 market share leader in less than one year, which it continues to be now over 10 years later.

Take the Next Step

If you need help understanding customer and client requirements, and how your staff can profitably fulfill them, contact us today to learn more about our market research services.