“If I Had Asked The Customers What They Wanted, They Would Have Said Faster Horses.”​ Henry Ford #rwanda #RwOT

I love brand, marketing, cars and everything in between. Therefore, I must say that this polarizing adage by Henry Ford is one in all the few statements out there that stir innovative thinking. For the most part, todays’ marketing and its value proposition is literally what this quote says; “a faster horse”. This has everything to do with how deep we are willing dive into gathered customer insights to decode those inner emotional most needs, the job-to-be-done. This “faster horse” position is additionally informed by how our question to the customer is phrased. A faster horse would have been the most direct answer if the industrialist had asked; “What do you need?”. However, if Henry had asked me back in 1896, “What would you wish to achieve?” My response would have been, “To be able to venture out of town with my wife and children to go to visit my parents, four hundred kilometers away, take my dog and the gifts we’ve kept for them and then be back that very same day for the launch of the telephone.” Because his was innovative thinking and he knew that we wanted to get to our destinations faster, Henry Ford didn’t provide a faster horse but rather went ahead and develop the Ford Model-T and very first en-masse vehicle assembly line.  We often ask customers to tell us what they need and we give them just that. We don’t think beyond their response and this gives birth to flat indistinguishable communication that does not stand out but rather sounds like everyone else offering a similar solution.  It’s not the customer’s job to ask us for the technology, but rather to give us a hint of their desired outcome and then we do the remainder. That’s where emotional messaging lives. An interesting alignment exercise for marketing teams is to periodically check in to conduct a messaging audit across all brand touch points more especially your sales pitch.

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