Enhance Productivity and Efficiency with Stephen’s Innovation Insights

Innovation Insights by Stephen Shapiro

2008 saw the $4 gallon of gasoline and the start of the current recession. Although car sales are down from last year, millions of vehicles were still sold.

What car do you think was most popular? A hybrid? A fuel efficient car? An ultra-inexpensive car?  A reliable import?

Interestingly, the two most popular cars were the Ford F150 (16 MPG) and Chevy Silverado (17MPG) pickup trucks with combined sales of nearly 1 million vehicles.

Why would people buy gas guzzlers when fuel prices are high and economic woes are running rampant?

According to Jeff Bartlett, deputy online editor of autos for Consumer Reports, when times are tough, “Buyers shift from what they want to what they need.” He continues to say that, “Pickups are a solution to a need” because they can be used for towing, off-roading, and cargo-hauling.

This is a fascinating point.

In a previous blog entry, I discussed how making your products/services more affordable and accessible is one way to beat the recession.

Focusing on what is needed versus what is wanted is another; sell the features that solve specific problems rather than the “nice to haves.” In the chart above, you can view the left part as the “needs” and the right part as “wants.”

This also plays nicely into my research on pains versus gains. The premise is that people take massive risks to eliminate their pains/losses yet will play it safe when it comes to increasing their gains. When times are tough, you must solve the pain first before the “extras” will be attractive.

What problem does your product solve? Can you provide a no-frills version of an existing product/service that focuses purely on eliminating a pain? In doing so, can you make it less expensive?

  1. I’m still in the process of creating my products/services. This article brings up an interesting point. I need to stay focused on keeping my products simple. I’m trying to design a program to add to my list of products, but I’ve been trying to add too many features.

    I need to offer the bare bones, see how it works then make adjustments.

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