What would happen if the general consumer market suddenly made an attempt to buy items just once?

A car – just once. A bicycle – just once. Clothing and shoes – just once. How would this effect marketing and bottom lines for businesses? Below are a few interesting articles that helped me think about these ideas, all from varying perspectives: as the consumer, as the maker and as the entrepreneur.


— Taj Reid on Points of Interest


Big Ideas—New Website

So, I haven’t been posting for a while, but there’s a good reason for this. I’ve been working on a new website and business plan for Plannerzone, the consumer insights practice I work for.

If you’re a planner, strategist, marketer, creative, troubadour, etc. Please check out our site. I hope you enjoy!



Inventing New Products (and stuff)

Writing begets writing, so I’m getting back on the Tumblr train.

I posted this on Quora and thought it would fit here as well. Some thoughts on new ways to structure market research:

Applying Product and Service Design Methodologies

Qualitative applications

Marketing tends to rely on its own tool kit.

There are valuable concepts from product and service development that can be used to enhance traditional methodologies. In particular I’m thinking of some techniques described in Creativity in Product Innovation.

Like all business books there is some filler that you can do without. The section on advertising is especially tiresome. But the first principles under which the authors operate are insightful:

  1. They put forward that in some cases a truly brilliant, novel product concept can’t be culled from market information. Consumer need (market information) diffuses through societies just like innovations and ideas do; think of it like a diffusion of awareness.
  2. Therefore, competitors with similar market capabilities will draw upon the same pool of market information, driving them to build competitive advantage elsewhere (e.g, development team, time to market, cost leadership).
  3. Put another way, it’s statistically unlikely to get “ahead of the curve” in product development because the incidence of consumers with a truly novel unmet need is exceedingly low, at least until awareness of this need diffuses into the larger market.
  4. Building upon this, the authors provide evidence that there is a common taxonomy of innovative products that can be used as a template for creative product development; the configuration of the product itself is used as a source of market information since innovative products (e.g, iTunes, ATM, Railroad) can be seen as a snapshot of the market information from a given point in time.

In effect, they provide an argument—and subsequently a set of tools—that we may deal with the product itself, through analyzing its attributes and environment, as a source market information that can be used to develop new, unsought products. The product is treated as a sort of media that communicates market need.

As a market researcher this points to ways to apply qualitative and quantitative research techniques to identify the product attributes most relevant to the market, and then use various methods (morphological analysis, service delivery mapping) to find new ways to configure a product.

Other fun service design concepts (all qualitative—cause that’s my jam):
  • Having respondents suggest ways to make a product or service channel worse (identifies strong points)
  • Projective and role playing to explore service delivery. This can include developing narratives of an idealized service design, or storyboarding a service channel with consumers and drawing in “what if” points where the service could pivot.
  • Wikis and other crowd sourcing tools
"The most famous cognitive obstacle to innovation is functional fixedness — an idea first articulated in the 1930s by Karl Duncker — in which people tend to fixate on the common use of an object. For example, the people on the Titanic overlooked the possibility that the iceberg could have been their lifeboat. Newspapers from the time estimated the size of the iceberg to be between 50-100 feet high and 200-400 feet long. Titanic was navigable for awhile and could have pulled aside the iceberg. Many people could have climbed aboard it to find flat places to stay out of the water for the four hours before help arrived. Fixated on the fact that icebergs sink ships, people overlooked the size and shape of the iceberg (plus the fact that it would not sink)."

Why We Can’t See What’s Right in Front of Us - Tony McCaffrey - Harvard Business Review

"It may seem crazy for an ad man to assert that we really don’t “persuade” anybody to do anything. I believe, however, that pitches are won — and people are willing to follow you — not because you’ve twisted someone’s arm, but because people see that you understand them, that you’ve applied the time and the sensitivity to do so, and that you possess a special gift that can help them reach their heart’s desire. And that, my friends, is priceless."

Win the Pitch: Tips from Mastercard’s “Priceless” Pitchman - Kevin Allen - Harvard Business Review

"If most of the value is now in the initial creative act, there’s little benefit to traditional hierarchical organization that’s designed to deliver the same thing over and over, making only incremental changes over time."

Valve: How I Got Here, What It’s Like, and What I’m Doing | Valve


The first campaign I’ve seen in a little while that truly struck me as “brilliant.” Like most great publicity campaigns, it’s powered by doodoo.

(via Free public Wi-Fi powered by dog poo (you read that correctly) | DVICE)