BizTube: Know Your Consumer

All I Needed to Know about Business I Learned from YouTube

You’re a new parent. You want the best for your child. So you do an internet search for the top baby toys of 2010-2011. You jump on Amazon and spend $40 plus shipping for the amazing “LeapFrog Learn & Groove™ Musical Table!” With 15 activities and more than 40 songs and melodies, your child will certainly be the smartest, most successful human being on the planet. But before the package arrives, you find your husband has just recorded this video.

It is in that moment that you realize you’re guilty of not knowing your consumer, and you just wasted $40 plus shipping. In addition, you could have used your child as a paper shredder, saving yourself the cost of that machine over in the corner. Missed business opportunity, for sure.

This video reminds us that in the old days, businesses operated on a “make-and-sell” model, pushing products to market and being assured people would buy them, and they did! But in today’s competitive marketplace, with information instantly in consumers’ hands, businesses have to be much savvier about knowing their consumer. We have shifted to a “sense-and-respond” system, as Kotler and Keller would instruct us.

Remember New Coke and Crystal Pepsi? Yeah, that didn’t really pan out because the market was happy with what they already had – why give them something they don’t want?

There are numerous ways to get to know your consumer – surveys, ethno/demo/psychographic research, or if all else fails, pick up the phone or go to the stores and talk to them! The bottom line is you can save yourself a lot of money and create efficiencies throughout the supply chain if you simply know your consumer and respond to their needs. If a kid wants to play with old magazines, don’t give him the newest piece of plastic/electronic overload!