Your expectation of your product is not necessarily the same as your customers

2016-01-05 17.08.55When I was down in the Southern Peninsula I spoke to a resident of Kommetjie who is a crew member on a commercial fishing boat that works art of Kalk Bay harbour. He showed me the chokka lures that he uses to catch squid in False Bay. They look different to the ones that I used some years back to catch squid. He told me that the squid like bright pinks, greens and reds. To save money he has bought nail varnish and has painted his squid lures in these bright colours. He pointed out that over the years the squid have developed different tastes and the colours that worked at one time are simply ignored by the chokka.

The point of this chokka story is that the chokka fishermen need to cater for the changing tastes of the squid. The fisherman who thinks that his lure will attract chokka quickly finds out that the colour of the lure is useless when the chokka refuse to bite.

A fatal flaw that start-up entrepreneurs make is to produce products that cater for their own tastes but those tastes are not necessarily the same as potential customers tastes. Your potential customers know what they want and if you don’t supply it, they will go elsewhere.

If you are about to put produce a product or service for a segment of the market how do you know whether they will like what you have to offer? If you don’t know you could make a big mistake, and a costly one by producing a product or service only to find out it’s not what your potential customers want, need or desire.

The main way that you can overcome this potential trap is to do test marketing. By running a test, trial or pilot with samples we even your prototype you will be able to find out if what you are offering meets customer expectations.

Some would say that techniques such as focus groups work but focus groups really only give opinions rather than giving an indication of actual behaviour. To see if customers will buy your product or service, you need to offer a test sample in your chosen or identified market and find out if they will buy. It’s only through initial purchases that you will be able to determine whether you have a winner on your hands. By the way, purchases from your close family and friends don’t count.

Need to know more about how to test demand? Why not check out “Breakthrough Ideas”? It shows you know-cost, low-cost ways to test what customers really want.

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