I had recently mentioned to a friend that one of the benefits of my job is learning what people really want. In my 35 year career as a marketer, I have conducted hundreds of customer research studies in a myriad of categories. When one conducts everything from depth interviews, focus groups, ethnographic studies and brand extension studies to product conjoint analysis, attitude and usage studies, brand equity studies and segmentation studies, one learns what people want. I have conducted research in categories as wide ranging as universities, municipalities, continuing care retirement communities, health care systems, vacation timeshare exchanges, hotels, RV resorts and campgrounds, homeowner's insurance, automobile insurance, banking, professional membership associations, vacuum cleaners, pizzas, juices, baby carriers, children's school supplies, graduation rings, cheerleading uniforms, greeting cards, floral arrangements, gas stations, convenience stores, online retailers, livestock feed, pet supplies, industrial seals, fenestration supplies, furniture and architectural building supplies - you get the idea.
So what do people seem to want?
- Social status
- Personal attractiveness
- A way to express themselves creatively
- People who will pay attention to them and care about what they have to say
- Ease and comfort
- Security and safety
- To make sense of the world
- Entertainment and humor
- Intuitive simplicity
- Respect and personal validation
- Beauty and aesthetics
- Other sensory pleasures
- To be surprised and delighted
- A reasonable price
While not every one of these apply to every product or service category, these are the things that I have observed that people want.