B2B Takeaways from B2C Markets: The Crucial Role of Desirability in Value

Survival in Silicon Valley: The Crucial Role of Desirability in Product Longevity 

Table of Contents

  • Ayah
  • February 16, 2024

To make it in the chaotic world of Silicon Valley, you need more than a brilliant idea—you need to be downright irresistible. It is a tech-savvy jungle where the fittest don’t just survive; they captivate. So, how do you make your product a must-have in this innovative age? It’s all about desirability. You’ve got to connect with your audience, understand what they truly crave, and create solutions that really hit home. 

Forget about the old-school metrics. Nowadays, it’s all about the vibe. Are you sparking joy? Are you stirring up curiosity? Are you making people stop and say, “Wow, did that really happen?” 

Built to Last: Unpacking the Desirability of Products and Services in Today’s Market 

Silicon Valley has thrived as a hub of innovation for ages because companies there obsess over nailing product-market fit. They’re constantly tweaking and enhancing their offerings to match what users want and need – knowing that standing still means getting left behind.  

It’s this mentality that all businesses need to embrace, especially with failure rates being what they are. About 20 percent of companies fold in their first year, almost 50 percent by year five, and 70 percent within a decade.¹

The key difference between the startups that stick around and those that crash and burn quickly comes down to one thing: understanding customers and ensuring you’ve got product desirability locked down tight. Companies that keep evolving to solve emerging needs have the best shot at hanging around for the long haul and avoiding winding up as another statistic. 

A desirable product solves a problem or fulfills a need for customers. Profits dry up quickly without assurance that buyers want what you’re selling. But giving services regular reality checks cuts failure risks and reduces the costs of adopting new offerings. Ensuring desirability means continually asking: “Does this still solve customer problems like it used to?” If not, time to pivot. 

Read More: 5 Lead Generation Fails Your Staffing Agency Can Learn From 

Google, Google Glass, and J.C. Penney: What Not to Do 

Many organizations race to lead the pack in launching new products or hastily play catch-up with competitors. However, diving in without ensuring that the product effectively addresses customer needs increases the risk of failure. Let’s examine these cases. Each instance resulted in these promising ideas flopping in the marketplace. 

Google+’s Failure to Stand Out and Be Desirable

In 2011, Google introduced Google+ to establish a social networking platform to rival Facebook. However, its unique selling point remained unclear. Google+ lacked a defining feature that distinguished it, leaving users uncertain about its advantages over other established social media platforms. Despite being heavily promoted, it didn’t attract enough users and was shut down in 2019. 

Google Glass Missed the Mark on Meeting Real Needs 

In 2012, Google released Google Glass, a wearable device with a display built into glasses. While it was innovative, people worried about privacy, and many didn’t see how it would be useful in their daily lives despite being promoted as a hands-free smartphone. Despite early excitement, it didn’t catch on and was stopped in 2015. 

J.C. Penney Left Much to Be Desired on Customer Satisfaction 

In 2011, J.C. Penney, a department store chain, tried to change its image by adopting an “everyday low prices” approach, doing away with sales and discounts. This new idea puzzled consumers, who were used to the traditional bargain-hunting experience. With loyalty and sales dropping significantly, the company returned to its old pricing and promotions. 

Mind the Gap: Traps to Watch Out for When Assessing B2B Service Desirability 

Now that we’ve learned from Silicon Valley that when rushing to launch a new product or service, it’s easy to overlook critical checks and cut corners. How does this translate in the B2B landscape?

Skipping proper vetting increases the risk of introducing value that fails to resonate with customers or buyers. Again, it’s all about desirability in value. 

Here are the common traps to fall into you can be wary of: 

Taking for granted that the idea itself is the solution. 

Reflect on your recent interactions with clients and candidates, like interviews or casual conversations. Did you spend more time listening, asking questions, or pitching and outlining the benefits of a hypothetical service or product? If it was mostly the latter, the feedback you got might be biased and not show what the customer needs. 

To know if an idea is truly desirable, you have to understand the problem they’re dealing with. Assuming your idea is the solution, you might miss the real problem. When you focus on selling your idea without listening first, you’re more concerned with proving yourself right than with understanding the customer’s needs. 

Even if you think your idea solves the problem, take a moment to listen before you try to sell it. It’s okay to be excited about your new idea, but don’t let that rush you into making assumptions based on your feelings. 

As you engage in your upcoming customer interviews, surveys, or focus groups, remember these recommendations to ensure that personal perspectives and assumptions don’t influence the discussion. 

  • Don’t introduce your idea too early. Once an idea is mentioned, the discussion revolves around the idea itself rather than the customer. Instead, focus on learning about what the customer does, how they feel, their problems, and what they need. 

 

  • Don’t talk about hypothetical situations or problems. As problem-solvers, we like to come up with solutions and imagine the perfect product and future. But those future scenarios are just guesses and shouldn’t be what we base desirability on. Instead, look at the real situation, which gives us the best insight into the problem. We should use that to decide if the idea solves the problem and if people would want it. 

 

  • Avoid using questions with “would,” “could,” or “should.” These types of questions lead to opinions rather than facts. When a customer brings up an issue, ask, “What steps did you take when?” instead of “What would you do if?” The first question gets a factual response about what’s happening now, while the second assumes a solution that might not be accurate for the customer. 

 

The key to desirability lies in genuine customer insights. While these simple steps can help minimize your own biases and inclinations in uncovering these insights, it’s important to also recognize and consider the biases and tendencies of the customer. Ignoring this aspect can lead to another common mistake. 

Assuming the end user is both the purchaser and advocate. 

Consider this scenario: Your product team devises an innovative timekeeping software estimating over 50 percent efficiency improvement. While initial user feedback is positive, pitching to managers and IT leaders reveals gaps. Managers (the buyers) seek robust reporting, while IT leaders (the supporters) are wary of task-tagging complexities. 

Often, we prioritize end-user needs but overlook buyers and supporters who influence purchasing decisions. Assessing desirability across users, buyers, and supporters is crucial. If a product fails to meet all their needs, adoption suffers. 

If the product is undesirable to all three groups, it’s unlikely to ever reach the hands of the user. In certain instances—such as with B2C products like the Amazon Kindle—the user, buyer, and supporter may be the same individual. However, in most cases—particularly with B2B products like timekeeping software—they’re usually different people. 

To make sure a product or service is appealing and solves the specific problems of everyone involved in its lifecycle, from buying it to maintaining it, you need first to identify the main people involved. 

Start by mapping out the stakeholders, with the end user as the central focus. Ask yourself: 

  • Who else might need to use the product, and what is their connection to the end user? 
  • If it’s not the user, who would buy my product? 
  • Who would support the product after it’s purchased if it’s not the user? 

 

Read More: Leveraging Expectations 101: Inspect What You Expect 

Assuming that customer problems remain constant. 

Customer needs are like moving targets. Just as a product might seem perfect for addressing certain needs at one moment, those needs can shift rapidly due to market trend shifts, technological advancements, or changes in consumer preferences. 

For instance, imagine a company developing a smartphone with new features that perfectly cater to the current needs of its target audience. However, as technology progresses and consumer expectations evolve, those features might become outdated, and new needs emerge. 

Consider Apple’s approach to its iPhone. Initially, it met consumer demands for intuitive touchscreen interfaces and sleek design. However, as technology evolved and competitors emerged, Apple continuously updated its features, introducing innovations like facial recognition and augmented reality to stay ahead. 

Therefore, to maintain desirability, businesses must continually reassess and adapt their products to meet changing customer needs. This might involve updating existing features, incorporating new functionalities, or even pivoting to entirely new product or service offerings that better address the shifting landscape of customer desires. 

Lastly, keeping an ear to the ground for the latest customer needs and preferences is key to keeping your services and products as cool as a cucumber. After all, staying in tune with changing customer needs keeps your products desirable and continues to meet the target audience’s expectations over time. 

UNLOCK THE SECRET TO LASTING SUCCESS WITH ALLIED INSIGHT 

Whether it’s through engaging storytelling, immersive brand experiences, or strategic influencer partnerships, Allied Insight can elevate your organization’s product and service desirability and drive long-term success. Partner with us, and let’s work together to create irresistible campaigns that captivate audiences and leave a lasting impact. 

Reference 

1 Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Survival of Private Sector Establishments by Opening Year.” www.bls.gov/bdm/us_age_naics_00_table7.txt. Accessed 16 Feb. 2024. 

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