Design Thinking is a user-centric approach which helps to create Human Centered Innovation based on what people can’t even express.
Marketing mix as known in the 20th century has been based on the 5 Ps (Price, Product, Promotion, Place and People). Note that nowadays we are talking about customers or consumer segments. Far be it from me to start arguing which word is more appropriate for marketing experts; that’s not the purpose of this post.
However, times have changed, the marketing ecosystem has evolved and the world has turned digital. Isn’t it time to adopt a different approach? Consumers are Users before being a « wallet. » To continue with this metaphor, think about Adam and Eve. There was no price tag on the apple. There was a frustration or a desire. So why should we talk about users vs. consumers?
Since the dawn of time, humankind has made choices. In fact, our lives are a continuity of choices. Because there sometimes isn’t a difference in regards to the true added-value of two products, we make our choices based on price.
This is the reason why design starts with analyzing usage. With empathy, designers understand the emotional path users are on. This is not rocket science, this is as simple as putting yourself in users’ shoes and exploring which frustrations they feel while experiencing a product or service. Of course I am simplifying slightly to make my point, but the idea here is to highlight that consumers are human before being a wallet. They have emotions, non-explicit needs and complex behaviors. And in the world we are living in, where information is at the tip of our fingers, making a choice is even more complex because we are all bombarded with millions of pieces of information which either influence or distort our choices.
However, if what you propose corresponds to a true unmet need, there is a good chance price is no longer a criteria, or that it at least becomes less relevant. Desire is generated by deep motivations people don’t even know and sometimes can’t control.
My intention is not to judge what triggers people or how some companies manipulate “consumers” to overcome their purchase barriers, but rather, the combined responsibility designers, marketers and company leaders have before they place a product or service on the market.
In the end it is a human being’s responsibility to build a sustainable world where meaningful products truly correspond to users’ needs vs consumers’ wallet.
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