A weblog by Christopher Carfi, since 2004.
Dave Winer on why smart customers rock.
Maybe not as smart as you think.
I am not sure how making great products followed by finding smart customers is all that smart. Over 80% of products, including some great ones with rotten timing, fail in the market the first time round. 60% fail in the market the second time round too.
Smart would be finding smart future customers, finding out what jobs they are having difficulty with and need additional help, then and only then making great products that do exactly that. Over 80% of these products actually succeed in the market.
Are we talking about customers or prospects here? Of course smart customers rock. But do smart prospects always rock? Yes, when they are open to exploring new ways to tackle either old problems or new challenges they did not know they could solve. NO, they don’t rock when they think they already have all the answers or think they can come up with solutions without pesky “sellers-marketers.”
Rockin’ sellers-marketers succeed because they align the usage of their stuff to the goals or objectives of open or not-yet-open minded buyers.
Marketers and salesmen have a tough time today. Sadly, much of it is of their own (or their R&D colleagues’) making. To many of them are trying to market or sell products that were never really designed for customers. Instead, they were created because someone in R&D, or worse, someone in marketing, thought they would make a great new product. But they don’t. They don’t help customers, as Clayton Christensen and Tony Ulwick put it, get their bread and butter jobs done. And 80% of them fail in the market as a result.
Far better to work together with current, ex and potential customers to discover what jobs they are trying to do, what outcomes they are looking to achieve from doing them and then to design products that do exactly that.
That isn’t to denigrate great marketers and salesmen. I have worked with many of them and they are worth their weight in gold. But surely it is better to put products designed specifically with customers in mind in their hands, rather than products that nobody really wants to use.
In fact, I would go so far as to say that customer-centric selling start with customer-centric innovation.
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