The only time I purchase marshmallows is to make S’mores and apparently, I am not alone in this. I recently saw flattened rectangle-shaped marshmallows designed specifically for that use. Brilliant!

It is a good example of paying attention to the customer and observing how a product is actually being used. For years, manufacturers only made rounded marshmallows. The company produced what it thought the customer wanted. But the customer had other ideas and continually modified its usage until someone realized they could grab part of the market by acknowledging that change.

How are your customers actually using what you produce? Do you know? Observing or conducting listening sessions to hear real-life stories may clue you into new opportunities. You think people come to your conference for the educational sessions but they really care about the vendors — could you create a virtual vendor fair instead? You require people to open a checking account to bank with you but they really use Venmo — could you have your base product become electronic transfers through you in place of checking? You suspect people read your newsletter for the information but the cartoons are the real draw — could you create infographics and sketched videos to convey your important announcements?

Let the end-user drive the evolution of what you offer. If you flatten the gap between intended use and reality you may find a sweet spot to leverage.

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