Category Archives: User research

Oscar’s Inconvenient Truths

By Steve Robins

Watching Sunday’s Oscar awards, I was struck by… the importance – “and inconvenience” –  of customer feedback in multiple forms:

  • Inconvenient focus groups – The mock focus group screening (gasp!) the Wizard of Oz.  Very funny but it points to the frustration that artists often feel around Hollywood focus groups that disagree with their artistic vision.  And they’re not alone either.  It may be inconvenient but those customers do hold the purse strings, so they’re kind of unavoidable after all.
  • Inconvenient innovations – Billy Crystal’s jabs at bankrupt Kodak, whose name (at least for now) graces the Oscar theater.  Hooked on film until it was too late, Kodak missed the inconvenient truth that film was less important than capturing and sharing images in the easiest manner possible.  The very company that invented digital photography found that truth inconvenient and now faces a very different and more painful inconvenience – bankruptcy.
  • Inconvenient movie-consumption – The Oscar ceremony focused again and again on the movie theater experience with many references back to the good old days.  Those good old days will indeed live on – but only in people’s memories.  Although more people attend movie theaters than theme parks (duh), theater admissions are declining as people consume movies at home on TV, DVDs and iPads.  Instead of reminiscing about the good old days, the industry would be better served to focus on the bright future of entertainment everywhere – on mobile, tablets, at home etc.

Customer feedback may seem inconvenient.  But not listening to customer feedback delivers the ultimate inconvenience.

 

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Anticipation

By Steve Robins

Anticipation builds customer loyalty.

A few weeks back, I had a few “wow” experiences that demonstrated the power of anticipation.  No matter that they were almost mundane: each experience improved my perception of the brand/company, service or location.  And they offer great lessons for solution marketers.

Anticipation - ketchup in a bottleAnticipated receipt

After filling up with gas at the nearby Hess Gas Station, I saw that the  gas pump’s receipt printer was out of paper – which is a nuisance.  But when I walked into the store to pick up a receipt, the cashier already had my receipt ready – before I could utter a single word.  Wow!  I’d say that I was actually more impressed with her anticipating my receipt needs than I would have been had the printer actually had paper.  I’ve been filling up at this station because they had competitive gas prices.  Now I’ll do it because they have great service as well.   Continue reading

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