Customers would much rather we got the basics right than constantly strive to innovate

We have all become somewhat blasé about technology. We expect things to just work, and woe betide them if they don’t – a lesson my work mobile phone learned to its cost this week. When it refused to do what I wanted it to, it found itself being thrown across the room in a fit of pique.

Secret Marketer

I’ve been reading about Google’s development of self-driving cars – such a great idea and so obvious that I’ve been wondering why they haven’t been developed sooner. With the exception of the few who like to “go for a spin”, in the main vehicles – cars, lorries, buses – are there to get someone or something from A to B. With this great need to get from one place to another, why has it taken so long to come up with an automated solution? 

I guess it may put a few people out of work – car insurance salesmen, speed camera manufacturers, car repair firms – but the upside must be colossal. Think of it: no crashes, no speeding, no road rage.

In my line of business, innovation is our byword and we are constantly striving to come up with new ideas to wow and excite consumers. Not surprisingly, what we’d like to achieve is beyond the realms of reality. Equally unsurprisingly, while our customers tell us that they want innovation, they would much rather we got the basics right (and in many cases, would rather we worked to deliver the service we do today, cheaper than spending time developing something that is better but much more expensive).

I can relate to that. I live and work in central London, but my phone and broadband signal is atrocious. I have a friend who is trekking around Asia at the moment who gets a perfect connection. When I go to Tesco, all I want is to pay for my food, not be lectured by a machine telling me I have removed something from the bagging area. And why does your mobile signal always cut out when you are speaking to your boss on a train? Why doesn’t digital radio
work in cars?

As marketers, the temptation is to get carried away by our imagination. Yet customers would often be just as happy to get what they already have, only more reliable, and ideally cheaper.  But I guess that just isn’t as much fun as promoting a new gadget, is it?

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