14 Dec 2011
From insight to innovation
Steve Jobs, one of the great marketing minds of his generation, once said: "You can't just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they'll want something new."
Almost a century earlier, Henry Ford, one of the great marketing minds of his generation, reportedly observed: "If I had asked my customers what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse."
Both men, in different ways, were highlighting the perils of being excessively led by customer research. Which is not to say customer research is inherently a bad thing, of course, but merely to note that business and product strategies built solely by reacting to market research are:
a) too slow (as Jobs knew), and;
b) too uninspired (as Ford knew).
Understanding what the customer wants is only part of a successful business strategy. Loyalty and marketing professionals need to show Jobs' proactivity, and Ford's foresight, to exceed customer expectations with innovative new pr...