I was doing a little web research on a company yesterday and started looking for signs of a brand strategy on the “About” page. Atop the About page sat this quote.
“Customers are the most important people in any business.”
Many would find it hard to disagree with the statement. When writing market plans I spend a lot of time “following the money.” (If you are interested in such things write me for a copy of my 24 Questions. Steve at WhatsTheIdea dot com.) And money comes from customers.
BUT, a big but…I don’t agree customers are the most important people; product developers earn that mantel. It is the product, you see, that excites customers into action. Sure, product developers need to study customer tastes and proclivities. Sure, they must have a sense of consumer attachments to competitive offering. But when push came to shove, it was the people at Levi’s who designed the copper rivets, the soda formulator who put the Coca in the Cola, and the algorithm jockey who indexed web information that created Google. Those were the most important people.
Customer are the bees, but sans flowers there ain’t a lot of buzz.