As we said in our damnation post, of course individual consumers are a consumer damnation. They are the consumer damnation. From your point of view, corporations (which will soon rule the world) are bad, governments are worse, but individual consumers take the cake, especially considering most of them bring their views to corporate and government purchases. And you are left trying to deal with the inanity and the insanity. When dealing with consumers, damnations are plenty.
Why are they so damn damning?
- Consumers are fickle.
- Consumers are demanding.
- Consumers are impatient.
- And some are outright vindictive!
So what do you do?
1. Insist on Third Party Marketing Research jointly overseen by Procurement.
Do you really need feature X or function Y? Does it really have to be blue? Does the schedule really have to be moved ahead 3 months at the cost of quality and reliability? Make sure all demands come out of a well designed survey that truly captures, objectively, consumers’ true desires. And make sure you understand what they are willing to pay, when, and why. Don’t let marketing force their assumptions on you at the expense of quality, reliability, and safety.
2. Make sure you clarify the value delivered, and the trade-offs associated with altering that value.
Make sure marketing understands what they can promote, Sales what they can sell, and all departments understand what the value is — and how that value will be altered if specifications are changed. Make sure Sales and Marketing understands how costs change, quality changes, and value delivered change if anything changes so that changes are not promised, and then mandated on high too late into the NPD process to allow the organization to keep costs low and value high.
3. Make sure all products are worth the weight.
If you can demonstrate that the value delivered will be more than your competitors, whether with new features, better (streamlined) functionality, or a lower cost for a higher quality products, then most consumers will be willing to wait.
4. Demonstrate a responsible supply chain.
You’re going to get sued, even if you did nothing wrong. So make good and damn sure you took every precaution to do everything right.
5. Implement a truly hassle-free return and replacement process.
You can minimize complaints and associated costs by making it easy for unhappy consumers, regardless of the reason, to get a replacement or a refund as fast as possible.
In other words, by making sure decisions are objective, and planning is done ahead, you can minimize the damnation that is going to come your way.