Marketing Tips: Customers Don’t Even Know What They Really Want


We don’t know what we really want

A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them. This is what Steve Jobs said. As the old saying goes, people don’t know themselves as well as they know others. Sometimes, making matters more complicated, people say the opposite of what they want, which makes marketing more difficult.

Even McDonald’s failed

The well-known example of behavioral economics is “Salad dish set launched by McDonald’s Japan in 2006.” The product development team of McDonald’s Japan was not smug, not acting arbitrarily. They just developed the epic-fail menu based on questionnaire results asking for healthy salad and saying no to junk food. Ironically, Quarter Pounder series (huge size burgers) debuted in 2008 and were a big hit.

Product-out may not be that bad

People don’t know exactly what they want. This would be the reason why we can never accurately forecast the market. It is always too chaotic because of human irrational behaviors. In that sense, our product development policy, “not market-in but product-out” may be right. Ex-chairman often said “Proposing new designs to the market is our mission, our value, and our brand. It’s vital for us to find talented designers, build a good relationship with them, and keep developing our skills to realize their ideas and passions.”

Black and white photographs of furniture designers. They are diverse in nationality.

The other day, the ex-chairman came to me nagging “Why don’t you introduce more about designer profiles in our website?” I know he is right and we should do that, but the problem is it’s not easy to profile them. Please give it a thought. “Who are you?” is a simple but very difficult philosopical question for anyone to answer.

It’s very natural for designers just to send their study, job, and award history in reply. Unfortunately, I guess nobody is interested in such dry and boring information. I wish I could interview each of our designers to dig deeper and share how attractive they are, like I did before with Michael Schneider. Today, can I pick your brains about a good question to profile them to reveal their talent, passion, and charm to you readers?

Shungo Ijima

He is travelling around the world. His passion is to explain Japan to the world, from the unique viewpoint accumulated through his career: overseas posting, MBA holder, former official of the Ministry of Finance.

Photo Credit: