Hands up - who remembers Burger King’s Satisfries, Cosmopolitan Magazine’s Yoghurt, or the Facebook Phone? To be honest I was struggling with those when I asked ChatGPT for a list of products launched by big companies that didn't do so well. There are many more including New Coke, Crystal Pepsi and Bic for Her - yes, a lady-pen.
There’s probably nothing inherently wrong with a low-fat chip in a multinational fast-food restaurant or a dairy dessert branded by a publication famous for celeb gossip and sex tips, but the public failed to be convinced.
Obviously, I’m not knocking failure. Learning from failure is the pathway to success. James Dyson famously created 5,127 prototypes before launching the DC01, the world's first bagless vacuum cleaner. He knew it would be worth it. Or at least he hoped so! But creating something that nobody wants, needs, or cares about shows an apparent lack of understanding of who your customer is.
Author Bobette Buster says ‘Listening is a gift - one we give to ourselves and also to others. When you listen, you always get far more back than you had going into the conversation… you know more.’
Listen to your customer. What do they care about? What do they believe? How do they want to feel about the things they consume or invest in? Listening to your customer needs shows an understanding and empathy that can set you apart.
Don’t create something and try and sell it to your customer. Listen to what your customer is saying they need and create that for them. It’s an act of generosity that leads to wisdom. As marketing guru Seth Godin says ‘You can’t be seen until you learn to see’.
Now where did I put my Google glasses?
At Simple Story Marketing we help purpose-led businesses bring change and success with simple, story-based marketing; content for websites, social media, and email campaigns.