Forget the obvious solution

Could I create a standardized offering of a custom product?

One of the first products I created as a software developer was a touch-typing program called Typing Instructor. This was back in 1985, and at that time there was no such thing as a standard PC. Instead you owned a specific brand and had access to the programs that had been written specifically for that make, […]

obvious solution

The Benefit of Being Strategically Disliked

Who will not buy my product because they feel something is objectionable about it?

The flipside to any positive emotional connotation or connection is a negative one. If you are inspiring enough such that some people love what you are doing, odds are you are going to be inspiring others to dislike your product with an equal passion. Plenty of companies trade on the fact that they represent something […]

being strategically disliked

Products that make customers say, “I did this!”

Can I create an on-demand version of the product?

Do you need to have a finished product in order to make a sale? Is there any way that not offering a finished product would actually give you an advantage, or even become a selling point? Suppose that your manufacturing costs appear to have gotten as low as they can without sacrificing quality. Even if […]

products

Know that your customers’ needs will change

What will future customers’ buying criteria be?

A big part of my business is being aware of, and responding to, the life cycles of my industry and my customers. Some of these are easy to see; you only need a cursory understanding of the effect of OPEC on gas prices in the early ’70s to understand why cars became more fuel efficient […]

needs

Being on board with social evolutions

How will you identify and locate customers in five years?

Every hot trend reaches a point I like to call the “Uncle Larry moment.” You know what I mean. It’s the juncture where one of your older relatives announces he’s taken up something that had seemed cutting edge, futuristic, and exciting up till that second. Facebook and Twitter have long passed the Uncle Larry moment. […]

social evolutions

In-house or Outsource as Needed?

Where do we perform product research and development? Where else could this be done?

What is your organization’s philosophy about design and development? Do you keep everything in-house, or do you outsource as needed? There are two schools of thoughts on this. By keeping the design process in-house, a company can build a sense of continuity and cohesion that links the entire family of products together in a satisfying […]

outsource as needed

Changing customers

What customer segment will emerge in five years that doesn’t exist today?

At HP, we have an Executive Briefing Center; where our large corporate clients come to be briefed about the latest technologies and products that are either in development or about to hit the market. Now, technically this service is for them. We are offering them information and opportunities to stay ahead of the newest advancements […]

Changing customers

Decide to Keep or Push Out Customers

Who do I not want to use my product now, but may want to in the future?

We tend to assume that any customer is a good customer. However, if you find that you’re working like crazy and have a solid and reliable customer base, but you’re still not making the profits you expected, then ask the Killer Question, Who do I not want to use my product? Do you remember back […]

What customers are saying and thinking about you

Who complains about my product?

A few years ago, a passenger complaint letter to Virgin Atlantic circulated around the web. It was very long, fully illustrated with photos, clearly somewhat tongue-in-cheek, and very funny, but it made a few good points about the bad food and surly service this particular passenger had experienced. Almost three years later it still occasionally […]

customers

Keep your users passionate in a positive way

Who is passionate about my product or something it relates to?

I’ve never shopped at the online craft marketplace Etsy.com. I’m not often in the market for hand-knitted iPod cozies, customized guitar cables, or the like. However, since 2005 Etsy.com has signed more than 400,000 merchants and nearly seven million users. Their annual sales figures for 2010 were $273 million. Even more interesting to me is […]

passionate