Satisty needs of small groups, make big impact
To satisfy customer needs what works best is to solve a big problem for a small group of people. The best products and services, the most useful, focus first on small segments. With that specialization, they can solve problems that are relevant.
Small companies can help a few a lot. They can make a significant impact. That is an advantage over multinational corporations.
The Apple Touch Bar is an example of a product that does not make a big difference, but it is useful. That is very common in a big company. Many people will enjoy it, but it will not be life-changing to anyone.
(the Touch Bar is a horizontal touchscreen that substitutes the function keys in most models of Apple Mac Laptops.)
Marketing tries to detect a need for a group of people. The second step is to organize resources to solve it.
There are many problems, things that could improve, and unsatisfied needs. Each one is an opportunity to create a product or service. But, what to choose first? Where do you begin?
The first step is to define your area of expertise and resources.
Education gives us the tools to solve challenging problems. We need to learn how things work before we can improve them.
Education gives us tools to solve more difficult problems and do it better.
Sometimes you can learn by yourself. You can do some research and go deep into a subject you already know.
In other cases, you need a background, years of study. For example to solve problems related to the medicine. First, you have to earn a university degree or degrees and, in many cases, practice in hospitals.
Big firms and customer needs
Public companies need to grow. Shareholders make money when the growth rate is high.
When growing is a priority, companies cannot specialize in a small segment. But, satisfying a need that is very relevant and also affects to a lot of customers is tough. The two goals at the same time are almost impossible as a first stage. That is why most of the big firms only solve problems that benefit lot of people**. But then, they have to give up the second part; they forget the **significant problems.
We have too many products that are only ok. They are good to have but, make no difference. Meanwhile, so many problems that are very relevant remain unsolved.
Small companies and customer needs
Private, little companies can specialize in a small segment. They can solve a problem that is very relevant for a small group.
That first adopters become raving fans that spread the word. In that process, some products become mainstream. This is when small companies can solve problems that are significant to more people.
In other cases, those products do not grow. However, this is ok. They still are very useful for some people. In the process, they become profitable enough to make a living for the founders.
There are many examples of small firms that specialize in the customer needs of a few:
Some apps help people with some rare illnesses. Other people create applications that improve the operating system of the computer. It could be a small detail that only a few care.
In more traditional businesses, there are many examples too. I know a fantastic grocery store near my job that has a lot of fruits. Their apples stand out. They have a great variety. Many of the apples are big, attractive, clean and well presented. When I want something healthy in the middle of the morning, I do not even consider the big supermarket. I remember the beautiful apples of the corner store. I am happy to pay more for that.
Apple Touch Bar. A few to a lot
All the big tech firms launch products addressed to the masses. At the same time, they are not revolutionary. They are nice, small improvements of existing products.
Apple Pay is a good example. It makes possible to pay with a phone. It is a bit faster and a bit more secure than credit cards.
Another example is the Apple Touch Bar. It substitutes the function keys for virtual keys that adapt to each circumstance. It is helpful to a lot of people, but only by a bit.
I would like it if Apple could forget about Wall Street and could focus on their core users. Growing is not a good goal for someone who wants to make great products and change the world.
I would like it if they could amaze and delight the high-end techie. Even more, the minority of techies that care about art, design, and form. In the first stage, it does not matter if the product scales or if it is only for a minority. This could be the seed for other evolutions that could go to the masses. Apple could use those first adopters as a test audience first. They will become the first evangelist later.
I understand it is hard for a public company. Everybody pushes them to grow. Even with the added pressure, I think Apple is making great products. Apple Pay and the Touch Bar are great innovations. I am thankful that Apple has made these products.
The best way to satisfy customer needs is to specialize in small sectors. Concentrate on a small group of people and try to solve a problem that is very relevant to them. Help a few a lot.
Small companies are the best equipped to do this. It is an advantage that they have over the big public companies.
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