I’d venture to say that most products and services are bloated with features that customers most likely don’t care for; I’ve been part of product development teams where the focus is on features, with an implicit goal to stuffing as many features as possible — in consumer packaged goods and in software. This is the wrong approach to developing memorable and sticky products.
The above statement might be best described by Kathy Sierra’s Featuritis Curve:
In my own personal venture in product and package design (a side project), I employ ethnography — the science of watching people do stuff; of learning about unarticulated customer needs, which is otherwise known as ethnography; Toyota calls it Genchi Genbutsu.
A.G. Lafley, the CEO of Procter and Gamble, understands this well:
JANUARY 28, 2005, Business Week
I wanted to get after what we call unarticulated consumer needs. What she wants that she can’t tell us about. And there are lots of techniques we have developed or are developing to do that. And two, I wanted to focus more on the consumer experiences as much as on the product and technology.
People remember experiences. They don’t remember attributes or benefits or features. We talk a lot about how you create a delightful experience. Now, when you’re dealing with underarm deodorants and cleaning dirty floors, you have to work real hard to try and deliver a less unpleasant experience.
The key phrase here is this:
People remember experiences. They don’t remember attributes or benefits or features.
What a simple, yet profound statement that still many, many companies fail to understand.
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Darren Johnson says
This is awesome! That’s a great chart to get people off the bandwagon that more features = better. I am so tired of product after product that is crammed 95% full of features that I will never use. Case in point – my Treo. It does this and that and camera and bluetooth and file transfers and mp3’s and excel spreadsheet, etc. etc. The only thing it doesn’t do? WORK AS A PHONE. I’m on the product side for the company I work for and it’s a constant battle to talk end-user benefits/experiences instead of new, cool features that we COULD do. Developers are obsessed with their capabilities way more than what the customers actually want.
I haven’t heard of the Genchi Genbutsu before – I’ll have to look into that more.
Mihir Gandhi says
This is so true..I work in the software industry too and have observed that the client does not care about the features but the experiences. We try to cover the system deficiency of being flexible by giving good customer service that they remember us for.