Too Close to See?
By Roger La Salle
But it’s obvious!
I have a saying, “The obvious once made obvious is always obvious”.
When you point out the obvious to people the common response is, “I knew that”, as well they may have, but in fact they didn’t until it was pointed out.
For example, if I tell somebody that an odd number multiplied by an odd number always yields an odd number outcome, the common response is “of course, I knew that”. Yes they do now, but until told they hadn’t realized it.
Personally I don’t have a problem with that, it’s human nature, but what frustrates me is when people hear the obvious but are unwilling to change and learn, for fear of – well, I don’t know what?
A case in point
You may find this hard to believe, but this is a true story of how we can miss the mark if we are too close to the problem.
Some months ago I was at a function and speaking with a person who sells a common brand of petrol power tools such as chain saws, blowers, mowers and the like. I suggested they should also be into battery tools only to be promptly told that they have a complete range of battery tools.
I was amazed, I didn’t know that and it’s a common brand.
Check it out?
Curious at being so ignorant I went to their web site and looked, only to find nothing of the sort.
I then went to the little search bar at the top of their home page and typed in Battery Tools. The result shocked me – “No tools match this search term”. How could this be, I had been left in no doubt that they had a complete range.
My curiosity aroused I phoned the company and indeed spoke with the very person who told me they had such a range, only to be told that I needed to search “Cordless” not battery in the inquiry bar as “Cordless” is the industry term.
Cordless I thought, so is my petrol blower and chain saw?
Who is your customer?
Whilst cordless may well be the industry term this company’s web site is targeted at consumers and the public in general
who no doubt would refer to such tools as battery tools. Indeed, to cover all contingencies, what harm is there in cross-referencing both terms in their search bar facility?
Being too close – sad but true.
Just a few days ago, many months after this experience I again checked the company web site and again searched battery tools and again the result, “No tools match this search term”.
I find it immensely frustrating to see people so slow to change and to even consider the obvious?
Knowing your business and being close is of course essential, but so too is knowing your customer, who your web site is targeting and how your customer thinks.
**** ENDS ****
Roger La Salle, trains people in innovation, marketing and the new emerging art of Opportunity Capture. “Matrix Thinking”™ is now used in organizations in more than 29 countries. He is sought after as a speaker on Innovation, Opportunity and business development and is the author of four books and a Director and former CEO of the Innovation Centre of Victoria (INNOVIC) as well as a number of companies both in Australia and overseas. He has been responsible for a number of successful technology start-ups and in 2004 was a regular panelist on the ABC New Inventors TV program. In 2005 he was appointed to the “Chair of Innovation” at “The Queens University” in Belfast. www.innovationtraining.com.au