Make Marketing History

The views of a marketing deviant.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Know Your Customer

One of the toughest lessons I learned in my times in the music and movie industries was to limit how much I should try to impose my tastes/passions on the customers. The artistic side of these businesses can be the apotheosis of passion but there still comes a point when you have to accept that "they" just don't get how great a band/movie this is. Their loss not mine. I just have to focus on ensuring it isn't a company loss.

Having grown the budget airline Ryanair from the brink of bankruptcy to being almost the largest international scheduled airline in the world, you can assume that chief executive Michael O'Leary gets it too. He does, albeit in his own distinctive way. Speaking of the failure of launching an in-flight DVD system, he explains what went wrong. "I was persuaded against my better judgment to put lottery scratch cards on board as well. I said, ‘Forget it, they’re for morons’. After about three months, nobody was playing the DVDs because everybody was scratching lottery cards. So we took the DVDs off and made more room for scratch cards. If that’s what the public wants . . .”

It conjures up a bizarre image of frenzied fingers and a silvery cabin-mist, but shows yet again that it's customer behaviour that is king.


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