Know thy consumer.

Adam Hartung:

Like most companies that focus on their “core customers,” RIM didn’t see the market shift coming. RIM kept talking to IT departments. Much like IBM did in the 1980s when it dropped PCs in favor of supporting mainframes and minicomputers because their “core” data center customers said the PC had no future. RIM was carefully listening to its customer – but missing an enormous market shift toward usability and apps. RIM expected its customers to tell them what would be needed in the future, but instead it was the competition that was showing the way. Many companies miss market shifts for this reason – they are listening to customers and not paying enough attention to the competition.

Just because IT departments buy the blackberry, doesn’t mean that they are the ‘customer’ you should be listening to. Apple made an end run on the enterprise by designing something the user would want more.

So many companies are too focused on what the customers and consumers are currently saying, and not enough on a broader understanding of consumer behavior or what the competition may be doing that actually is.

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