80% of all new products or services fail within six months, or fall significantly short of forecasted profits. The reasons boil down to a failure to understand how customers think, and how we think about how customers think. Our mental doors are stuck, and we have to pry them open.
To understand our customers, we have first to acknowledge that they do not necessarily understand themselves.
Their motivations are often beneath the surface; 95% of decision-making goes on subconsciously.
We should also understand and develop our own habits of mind. These habits help us be more creative about how we discover what customers want, and what to do about them.
Restlessness. We should make our own work out of date, and view conclusions as beginnings, rather than endings. Ask “what makes me restless,” and make sure you have plenty of whatever it is that does.
An appreciation of the irregular, and an eye for the odd. Welcome the unexpected. How can I better detect anomalies? How can I create anomalies?
Reasoned but visceral stubbornness. Have cool passion. Be more committed to the process of creating ideas, than to the ideas themselves. Seek knowledge from other domains. Maintain the courage of your convictions. Tolerate those who disagree. What foreign fields are most interesting, enjoyable, and important to visit?
Wide peripheral vision. Ask generic questions. Avoid premature dismissal. What makes me curious and nosy? What tempts me to break things that work?
Lou Carbone, What makes customers tick