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David Maister

Clearly advances are being made, but I worry a great deal about the applicability and functionality of all this to the world I serve: the professional service businesses. They deal not in aggregate market research "How customers en masse tick" but with individual (high-powered) buyers. They must learn "what makes this person tick" which is a completely different skill and level of analysis. We need to develop methods that lay people can use in specific situations, not research tools that we can apply as third-party contractors.

It's kind of like asking Freud's (unanswerable) question "What do women want" when the real need is to develop the skill "What does this person in front of me want?"

- Good points, David. I work in retail, and so find value in studying how segments behave, but ultimately it’s understanding the individual customer that closes the sale. Much of the material in the “What customers want” section of this blog apply to individuals as well as groups. If you could point me to published research on “high-powered buyers” of the kind you deal with, I’d appreciate it. - Leo

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