Your Customers Aren't Always Right

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Sure, your customers might ask you to load on the features of your product. They might say, for example, they'll need an increase in storage space, or wider handle bars, or different flavors of your peanut butter. Yet, what customers say they want, doesn't always translate to what they need -- and more importantly, what they'll buy. Ian Horsfall and collaborators from Cranfield University's Royal Military College of Science in England recounted this in "The Effect of Knife Handle Shape on Stabbing Performance." Most who needed knives said the kife's handling was as important as the blade itself. Yet, when Horsfall and the Cranfield team experimented with several cases, they came to the conclusion that the handle doesn't matter. "The bottom line is that stabbing performance is almost wholly dependent on the person, and is not a function of the knife handle," according to the study. Concludes Harvard's Marc Abrahams: Don't focus your dollars on R&D when you could probably use it to fund your marketing programs.

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Posted on February 25

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