Do Customers Know What They Really Want?

Market research


It's constantly drilled into us to listen to our customers. The standard process is: identify the problem; listen to what your customers’ want and the marketing process follows on from there.


But Steve Jobs said:

“People don't know what they want until you show it to them.”


Even further back, consider Henry Ford’s famous quote:

“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses."


Many companies use focus groups, surveys and various other forms of research to inspire innovation within their industry. These industry greats however focused solely on internal innovation rather than combining it with insight obtained from customer feedback.


There’s no denying the success of either of these people, they have proven that customers are not very good at predicting their future intentions. That’s not to say customers aren’t being truthful in their responses, although this sometimes happens, it means that their actions don’t always match their responses.


We’re not telling you that customers can’t offer valuable insights for business, because Steve Jobs method wouldn’t apply across the board for all businesses. We’re saying find out what your customers want without directly asking them.


Seek answers to different types of questions to find out what motivates your customers:

  • Research your customers, online & offline.
  • Observe what they do. Listen to what they say.
  • Look for patterns in their daily lifestyle.
  • Consider their problems, possible gaps in their desires and how you could fulfill those.
  • Think about how they currently feel and how you can create a difference for them. Figure out how they want to feel and deliver that to them.
  • Identify their physical and emotional wants. Figure out what you can do to get them from where they are to where they want to be.
  • Lastly, what is the change that will take place in their life because of your business or product?  Now, go let them know!


Image/art credit: Maurizio Bondesan, Italy

Maria Bellissimo-Magrin

Owner at Belgrin

With an interest in Marketing Communications from an early stage, I pursued my passion by completing a Bachelor of Business (majoring in Marketing). My position is Communications Coordinator for Belgrin- a creative communications agency in Sydney specialising in Design (digital & print), Web Development, PR & Social Media Management. My view is that, in this modern world of technology you need to be able to adapt to change. I embrace the challenge and it fuels me to thrive within the industry.


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