In the 1989 movie Field of Dreams, Kevin Costner’s character builds a baseball field within his corn farm after a ghostly voice tells him “If you build it, he will come”. In this case, the “he” refers to Costner’s character’s dead father.
Since then, especially in entrepreneurial companies and startups, the phrase has been changed to “If you build it, they will come”, which suggests that if you create a new product, customers will find their way to you in order to buy it.
It is a lovely Hollywood story.
Yet unfortunately, in the real world, it hardly ever happens that way.
Usually, when a company releases a new product, customers do not come.
This could be for a number of reasons:
- People haven’t magically heard of your product if you have not done any marketing or spread the word. They will not magically find out about it and come to you
- They might have heard of the product launch, but be happy enough using what they currently have or not using anything, and require active convincing
- They might have heard of your message, but are not as excited about it as you are yourself
- They might know about the product, but don’t perceive it as valuable enough to find out more
- Your product might be a solution for a nonexistent problem
- Or, frankly, they might not think that your new product is very good
As an example, each year there are still people who invent and patent a better mousetrap, and are surprised why customers keep buying the old and “inferior” standard models. Yet for the customer, this existing mousetrap is what they want, because in their mind, it works.
Whatever the reasons might be, millions of creatives, businesses and entrepreneurs are disappointed every year when customers do not just automatically come.
Remember, in order to convince customers to pay, you need to be able to communicate the value your innovation brings.
This requires you understanding your customer needs, and then being able to get them to see and hear your messaging around those needs. It might take time to convince the first early adopters, and only after that might the majority of the market even become aware of the product and willing to buy.
It takes time, effort and usually marketing money.
But this is how you actually get people to come.
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