October 5, 2011

Products should be designed to get the job done

I read an article from Harvard Business Review about Marketing Malpractice. In article they say that thirty thousand new consumer products are launched each year. But over 90% of them fail. Harvard marketing professor Theodore Levitt used to tell his students, "People don't want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole!".

Thing is marketers often solve the wrong problems, improving their products in ways that are irrelevant to their customers' needs. In my Superior EPG for Connected TVs (I need some name for that...) idea I simply try to solve customers problem choosing what channel to watch when he/she turns on TV. And that's it. Nothing more. But do it in superior way that hasn't been possible before connected TVs. So probably my service won't include social media connectivity, deep search functions, mobile app integration etc. because those are irrelevant to job I'm trying to solve and just make service bloated and more difficult to use.

So I think it's very important to remember products should be designed to do some particular job. To make people's lives easier. And when adding new features you should ask are those features really helping to do this job or actually just making things more difficult.