Why Not Use Research To Offer Your Customers LESS?

image1 - fashionToday’s blog post is by Micha Dudley, a Senior Research Associate in our Behaviour Change Unit. Thanks Micha!

Most clients use market research to find areas they can provide more value to their customers. But in some cases, it can be more beneficial to take a look at the areas businesses could stand to reduce some value.

For instance, this week an article was posted in The Wall which shares the excitement we all have about the potential of wearable tech and gives loads of interesting possibilities for wearable tech firms. Can tech companies work with jewellery companies? Can they bring out beautiful smart bracelets? Can they make wearable tech cool by offering more?


Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne would have them offer less instead.

One of the insights from their international bestseller Blue Ocean Strategy is that focussing your value on few attributes at the expense of others, can lead to success. Examples in the book include the airline industry, where budget airlines such as Southwest Airlines concentrate on providing high value in only a few areas (like speed and frequent departures) and reduce value in all other areas, rather than trying to spread their resources to provide moderate value across all attributes.

image2 - graph

The games industry is doing this too; when Nintendo realised they could not compete with other consoles on high-end graphics, they actively reduced the value they placed in graphics and brought out the simple Wii with its innovative controller and straightforward family-friendly games. Able to be sold at a lower price point to a wider market, the Wii has outsold both the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 by 20 million units.

Looking a little closer to home, mobile phones themselves have had this sort of style problem before. It’s very difficult to provide a product that everyone thinks looks good, and very difficult logistically to create many different styles of the same thing. The solution? Simplify the design and pave the way for 3rd parties to design and sell phone cases and accessories to everyone’s liking.

image3 - simpler

Could wearables take this same route and reduce their offering by not focussing on things like the style of watch straps, bracelets or glasses frames? Why not cut back and simplify the technology into something customisable. Not only would this pave the way for a style revolution, but perhaps even a usage revolution too. Researchers and brands are chomping at the bit for the day when wearables are a socially accepted part of everyday life that don’t stand out like a sore thumb and muck up our studies.

Rather than trying to answer themselves, perhaps the tech industry would be best letting 3rd parties find the solution to the question of how to actually make wearable tech cool.

As researchers, we can help companies understand what value can be removed, and how doing this may open up new opportunities.

Is there anything in your business, product or service that you could cut back on offering to your customers to make it better?


2 thoughts on “Why Not Use Research To Offer Your Customers LESS?

  1. Pingback: ADnjus | Why Not Use Research To Offer Your Customers LESS?

  2. I have to differ with you on this.

    Based on the notion that Value=Benefits-Cost, I submit that these companies did NOT reduce value–they simply removed things that were initially thought to be customer ‘benefits’ but were not (i.e., they did not and could not contribute to value because customers saw no incremental benefit from them). They were then able to reduce the cost to the customer. Since the real benefits were not reduced and the cost to the customer was, what they did actually INCREASE the value to the customer.

    This is what Southwest did when it went after the overserved air travel market by removing things from which customers derived no real benefit and dramatically cut the cost of air travel. Price down, value up!

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