Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Satisfy consumers for the next decade

James L. McQuivey, PhD
VicePresident, Principal Analyst

  • The adoption curve (the hockey stick!)...70% of people are connected by...wait for it...household electrification rates from the 1930s. So all the technology adoption curves behave according to an adoption curve that looks like a hockey stick.
  • How can we use this to forecast consumer behavior? 
  • Why do some people adopt technology sooner than others? [Enough question, we want answers!]
  • The answer: eventually, obtaining technology becomes convenient enough. 
  • Put another way, when the technology becomes convenient enough, it is rapidly adopted. 
  • Point: people share a set of universal needs...satisfy these needs with convenience and you will win. [the challenge is idenitfying the need, not the device]
  • What do people really need? How can you give it to them? What should you do to be ready? That's the agenda for this.
  • What are universal human needs? [Well, Maslow is a start]...but he thinks Maslow was wrong in a particular way: they are not ordered...they are messy [and this is where we get to the individual, right? your order is not my order]

Here's the Forrester view of 4 universal needs:
  • Connection--being connected to something bigger than ourselves [why politics and religion work for so many]
  • Uniqueness--we are special [the individual!]
  • Comfort--[hope?]
  • Variety--[play and learning?]
  • So what?: Everybody has all four...they just vary by individual. [of course the variety embedded in the term variety is, well, quite variable].
  • Our needs shift over time, and we'll tradeoff our needs against themselves [ourselves?]...we'll trade comfort for variety for example.
  • [haha...fictional tradeoff in choosing between a PC and a Mac..against the four types of needs].

How do you give people what they need [against these needs]?
  • You win with convenience. It is a means of access to their needs..it is not a need unto itself.
  • Convenience = All the benefits of you product/service minus all the barriers of it
  • Digital camera example: $1669 sony 1Megapixel camera in 1998...digital print service online in 2003...17 models with 5 megapixels for under $100 at Walmart in 2008...Digital Camera penetration at >70% in 2008. [Convenience driven by the cheap revolution]
What do you need to do to succeed?
  • Know your customer's target need profile [there's an average, but you have to leave room for variation or this is little more than another attempt to define prism-like clusters!]
  • Know and increase your convenience quotient [and of course Forrester offers reearch to define the quotient for you]...the quotient is a single score between -1 and 1...it expresses the benefits - the barriers. [obviously useful for establishing directional baselines versus competitiors and alternative approaches from the same organization...can R+K establish a convenience quotient for our service offerings? Perhaps a meaningful approach to evaluating innovation at the agency?]
  • Examples in customer service application of the cQ like evaluating FAQs, sending an email and calling an 800 number.
Summary, Audience Questions and Random Thoughts
  • People share a set of universal needs--satisfy them with convenience and you will win.
  • [Diane and I think it would be an interesting exercise to apply a Convenience Quotient exercise against some of our clients brands]
  • Forrester shooting for a 12 question approach to identifying the four needs.
  • A fair amount of qualitative/subjective data applied to the profile.
  • Do you think needs analysis will carry across cultures? We have confidence these needs are universal. 
  • [the challenge is of course that defining these needs with specificity is where we are different].
  • [Convenience is not the same as simplistic...if you enjoy complexity, convenience is not about simplifying things that are part of the complicated need...hiding the data associated with training for a marathon is not the same as providing convenient access to it and the tools to manipulate it...spreadsheet software, web applications are examples?].

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