There’s a misunderstanding when we want to put a product in the market and test it to see whether will work or not–which is asking the consumers what they want.
There is a popular quote about Henry Ford that says:
If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.
Old quote, but meaningful as ever before.
Choosing the faster horse is a trap. You base your products in merely opinions, rather than real desires. You need to be able to communicate properly and figure out the consumer’s reaction, until you get the desire in its pure state.
A faster horse means having a product that your market expects from you. Means being inside the expectation’s circle. Inside the average.
I want to be clear here. Conducting surveys to adapt and modify your product is the key to create a product that fits in the market. But I want to clarify the difference between asking and testing.
Testing is about finding ways to fit your company in the market, and yes, you can use surveys as a way to figure out the desires of your consumers. However, a faster horse means ask directly to your consumers what they want. This is a fail strategy, because… we don’t know what we want!. Our desires are out of control of our conscious mind, we don’t control them, so there’s no way we can tell them to you directly.
The next product hit won’t be discovered by asking the market what it wants. If you do that, you’ll have a faster horse.