A Key Marketing Lesson from a 7-Year-Old

Dragonflies Rock!

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Dragonflies also like Jeff

“The dragonflies. There are lots of dragonflies.”

This is the answer I received from Joey* (who’s 7) in response to my inquiry on what he likes best about his new home in our neighborhood.

A big smile crept across my face.  You see, I like the dragonflies too.  Jeff and I often sit and watch them for a long while after lunch on the patio in warmer weather.

Dragonflies are pretty far down on the list of answers I expected. Yet, it’s a REALLY good answer for a kid of any age.

Most of you already know what I am about to say next…something along the lines of “being a good listener means not expecting a certain answer.”  Yes, I am working on that.

In addition, it’s a great lesson in marketing: no matter how well you know your customers (and prospective customers) we are ALL UNIQUE and different things are important to us.

KC_OverTheHump_Masthead 230x200Apple does a great job of providing customers with dragonflies: experiences they did not know they wanted until they saw them and played with them.  Apple says that market research is not useful because typical market research would not have come up with iPOD, or iTunes.

However I do believe Apple studies the market, knows how people use and build relationships with things.  To me that’s market research.  It’s the relevant kind that puts us marketing geeks in the shoes of our customers– and then adds our knowledge of what cool, amazing and useful.

Dragonflies don’t need much product development and marketing to be cool, amazing and useful.  Most other product do, and open-minded listening is key. It’s the kind of listening that does not have any potential answers, even in the very back recesses of our minds.

In order to remind myself to let go of ALL expectations, I am going to put a picture of a dragonfly on my desk. What about you?

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  • Joey is not his true name.

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