"You have to have a product people want"

That’s the general thinking in consumer products.  It’s true, but sometimes it’s hard to know what people want.  And asking doesn’t always mean much. There are some flaws in believing that the consumer knows what they want – like “why would I need a portable music player when my hi-fi works fine the way it is?”  yup.

And, the consumer mindset is different than government or pharma – where those organizations might “need” something, and not think of it as want. And in rVibe‘s case, where it’s a competitive environment and we’re delivering the same end product as everyone else (on-line music), the question is a little different than just providing something people want.

Clearly there is a desire to buy music on-line – 189% market growth last year, and something like 150% this year (whether you agree with those numbers or not doesn’t matter, the growth is large in any case). So – how do you access that desire – how do you drive consumers to your way of selling them that product? 

An analogy from the physical world is hardware stores across the street from one another. Both sell hammers and nails, so how do they compete? How do they differentiate? To draw in traffic, the customer has to recognize you, trust you and you have to add value to the consumer, make them come back only to you and get them to have their friends come to you.

It’s more than just giving what people want – you have to identify with them and add value. They can already get what they want easily, you have to do more. That means branding and functionality. The brand has to be clear and resonate with your target market and your functions have to add value.

We’ve worked hard to differentiate our brand and functionality so that it’s clear where we’re different and we add value. And our market research shows that our brand and functionality resonates with our user population. That seems to be a recipe for success.

We’ll see.

Posted on January 4, 2007 in Market

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