Posted by: jdavis | June 12, 2008

On Car Innovations and Satisfaction

Life is basic. Man eats, sleeps, wakes up, does his things, eats, sleeps, wakes up and so goes the cycle. It is simply what it is. And summing up, it weighs nothing more than breathing. Quite brute isn’t it? It is plainly nothing but breathing. To this I guess a lot would really object and say there’s a lot in life than simply breathing and engaging in the monotonous dialogue of inhaling and exhaling. We are human beings and human as we are, we take pride in our intelligence. We put ourselves above that which already is. We strive to go beyond that which is already given. Call it discontent or pride but it is what makes life more worth living. We discover things that are yet unknown and we improve almost everything. This sometimes makes me think of life as always an unfinished business.


In this life, what is finished and done which would not consider any alterations! So here I am again talking about car innovation. The other time I wrote about an article that discusses the customer’s difficulty of accepting these car innovations because of too many complicated innovations, the difference of perception among different customer groups and the customers’ limitations and difference on knowledge, desire and budget. My answer is simplicity that accounts for immediate recall, timeliness and still the desire to make things better.


When customers buy cars, they would like to get the best out of their hard earned money. Every drop of their sweat and blood, translated into market value must pay off. They think and struggle whether they would buy or not. So most often when it comes to extras or additional features for the car, they think twice. Here lies the difficulty of the suppliers. How can they really look into the minds of the consumer so much so that they can foresee what innovations would really sell?


Oliver Wyman gave the following points for consideration. First, include the customer’s perspective. This is really necessary, I suppose. Customers are the end users and they are the buying public. They are the reasons why the company and the technology exist. Knowing too little about the customers requirements decreases the odds of the products marketability since what is taken into consideration is simply the perspective of the manufacturer. Are they the ones who are going to buy the product? The second point offered is involving the manufacturers and suppliers own people by acting the role of the customers. This is quite putting you on the shoes of the other. This method is quite good since time and again, one would find it quite hard to understand the other if he or she is not in the same position and experience of the other. Simulating the customer’s position gives the manufacturer a grasp of the other’s experience or predicaments albeit in a general manner. The last point focused on building customer understanding. I can see it in two ways. Understanding the customers in their way of looking at things on one hand and on the other hand is making the customers understand. On the former point of view, understanding the customers in their way of looking at things helps the manufacturer suit his manufacturing of the product according to the needs, preferences and price sensitiveness of the customers. One would not give customer a BMW if he wants a Toyota nor he would give a rear fender to the customer who orders a bull bar. However, the manufacturer can also go beyond the customer’s point of view if we take into consideration the point that the innovator, looking the merit of his being able to think of the product prior to the customer’s, already knows what the product is and what are the benefits it could give to the customers. To improve its marketability, we would go on the second point of view that is making the customers understand. Here, marketers should really take the longer step of making the customer know the product probably making them understand that although it is an extra for their car and budget. It would be a necessary extra. Manufacturers, suppliers and marketers should really have knowledge of customer acceptance of innovation and make them accept the innovation.


For the customer there is already the satisfaction of owning the car and for the manufacturer there is already the satisfaction of having his car bought. But being satisfied does not simply end in what one already has for one still desire for more. Innovations cater to that desire. We struggle to improve and quench our aspirations. Dressing up as what I would call it.


We cannot divorce satisfaction, so the innovations.



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