But sometimes, like in the Dr. Seuss book, Green Eggs and Ham
customers don’t know what they want. Why? Because they’re never tried it!
Think about all the technology we enjoy today. Did you know you wanted an iPhone before you saw one? What about Facebook. Can you live without it now? Surely no one was asking for it before Zuck thought it up, but now millions of people use it daily.
You may be thinking that the story of Green Eggs and Ham is a bad example of how to approach customers. Sam-I-Am is nothing if not persistent, and you might compare him to the guy that keeps calling during dinner hour with a relentless sales pitch. “Enough already!” you say, or maybe…
I do not like them in a box.
I do not like them with a fox
I do not like them in a house
I do not like them with a mouse
I do not like them here or there.
I do not like them anywhere.”
Surely being as relentless as Sam would alienate even the best customers. So why on earth am I suggesting your customers might want Green Eggs and Ham? Because they haven’t tried them!
Customers don’t (or can’t) always tell you what they want. They’re much better a giving you feedback within their existing frame of reference. They can tell you what your competitor has that they would like you to offer. And they can tell you how another application or service can be applied in your business. But they are not always the best ones to tell you what you should – or could – bring to market to win their undying love.
That’s where you come in. It’s your job as a marketer or business owner to anticipate what your customers need. Sam-I-Am knew that his friend would like Green Eggs and Ham if he just gave them a shot. Hopefully, your customers will be more willing to try new things when you offer them. (They are adults, after all.)
How do you know your customers will be open to new ideas? Because you’re one step ahead, anticipating their needs. To find innovative ways to be the first to serve up a creative new recipe, try this:
- Look at what your customers like, and think about how it helps them. What’s missing? Are there ways that product or feature could be improved to work better, faster or be less expensive?
- Think about problems or complaints you’ve had lately. Is there something you could have done that would have prevented these problems? How can these solutions be turned into new or enhanced products?
- How do you envision your customers interacting with you in the future? What can you do today to make that a reality?
- What technologies or services have you seen in other industries that could be adapted for your business?
- Think about how current trends will impact your customers. Macro changes in the way we connect, work or live may inspire you to get ahead of the curve with innovative approaches for you customers.
Once you have your list of new ideas, make them real enough that your customers can envision what you see in the future. Green Eggs and Ham sounds awful, but how do they taste? You don’t want you customers to turn up their noses and your innovation, so get them to try a taste – just a little taste – and then ask what they think.
You just might find they like Green Eggs and Ham,
Say! I like green eggs and ham!
I do!! I like them, Sam-I-am!
This post was inspired by Heidi Cohen and 125 Free Blog Topics. Image © Dr. Seuss Enterprises, L.P.