Whatever we say about the emergence of new media and the death of advertising; the old world is still alive and kicking.
One of the truisms of the old world is that companies are still focused on crafting and engineering products to satisfy consumer demand.
Not that there is anything inherently wrong with this approach. After all, if you’re in the software business your whole commercial model is based on upgrades, enhancements and new releases.
Most technology companies have a roadmap for their product that reassures customers and is a perfectly sensible way to focus development time and resource.
However, it’s the very logic in this approach that undermines a companies ability to distance itself from the product it makes in order to seek out true innovation inspired by the real needs of its customers.
In the main, companies who ‘make things’ have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. They have deep commitments to R&D and lots of capital tied up in machinery and labour. They are (whether they like it or not) committed to a certain way of doing things, predicated by an inflexible business model.
My point is this. There is always a point of ‘disutility’ in most mature industries; cars, printers, insurance, washing powders. The annual upgrades and improvements offer little real difference to the end consumer. And to be honest we get easily fatigued with advertising messages that over promise and always seem to under deliver.
Maybe I am asking for the impossible. And maybe lots of companies are out there doing amazing things but they are few and far between.
Do we really need printers that keep getting faster and faster?
Do we really need toothpaste that gets our teeth whiter than ever before?
The answer is NO.
What we want is for companies to be more inventive, more revolutionary in their thinking, to break free from the traditional products they offer and re-think how they would shake-up the market if they were a new start-up.
What we want is for them to be loyal to our needs and not their own.
It’s a simple formula.
Don’t love your product. Love your customers.
Now go spread the word