Know what customers ‘should’ have, not what they want

Apple founder Steve Jobs was right when he said customers don’t know what they want until you show them and brands fail trying to give consumers what they want, not what they need.

That’s the advice of author Mike Edmunds, who will discuss his new book Truth. Growth. Repeat at the next CCI-Boffins Books business breakfast on March 2.

He says Jobs rejection of customer wants is great example of what can make a company successful.

“Steve Jobs was famous for saying the customer doesn’t get a vote in what they sell,” he says.

“Otherwise they would never have come up with the iPad or iPod because people didn’t know they wanted them.”

Edmunds – who co-founded creative business solutions company Meerkats and has spent 40 years in the advertising industry — will outline some of the ways that finding the true purpose of the business leads to commercial gain.

Case in point – Steve Jobs – who cofounded Apple in his garage in the 1970s.

Truth. Growth. Repeat is a simple system for marketing that any business can apply. It requires reflecting on the core reason a business was created and whether that has been sidelined by marketers trying to outdo competitors in various ways – including giving the client what they want.

“Every year there is a bunch of major brands going to the wall, mainly from America,” he says.

“Look at Dick Smith, a great example. Dick Smith electronics began with a guy who had a passion for science and he wanted to share that with kids and families.

“The company was borne out of his passion. Fast forward 20 or 30 years and he’s out of the picture and the people who bought it don’t have that passion. They think ‘I have a retail thing here’ so they start selling dodgy TVs and then try and advertise their way out of it.

“Eventually they go out of business. Same thing happened at Kodak, Blockbuster and other brands.”

Edmunds says if you look at major brands that failed, it can mostly be traced back to them trying to fulfil what they thought the consumer wanted.

“They were being usurped by companies that were following a business strategy that said ‘I don’t care what customers think they want, I know what they should have’,” he says.

Edmunds book is written for startups, entrepreneurs and small businesses and is packed with examples of companies have succeeded and failed.

Truth. Growth. Repeat is published by Wrightbooks and is available from Boffins Books at 88 William Street, Perth and retails for $29.99.

►Join us on 2 March for the opportunity to hear from Mike Edmonds, co-founder of Meerkats, as he gives insights into how to grow your business authentically.

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