“Some people say, “Give the customers what they want.” But that’s not my approach. Our job is to figure out what they’re going to want before they do. I think Henry Ford once said, “If I’d asked customers what they wanted, they would have told me, ‘A faster horse!'” People don’t know what they want until you show it to them. That’s why I never rely on market research. Our task is to read things that are not yet on the page.” – Steve Jobs

Do you know what need prompts your customer to buy your product or service?


Ultimately, the customer’s need drives their purchase decision so it is important to know what business you’re in – do you sell Candy, Vitamins or Painkillers?


Sugary, sweet Candy calls your name as you walk down the grocery store aisle. It releases serotonin when you eat it and makes you feel great. But it is also something you can live without and not all that good for you in the long run.


Vitamins on the other hand are good for you and have great long-term benefits but stop taking them for a week or two and you probably would not notice much difference. Vitamin products and services’ job is to make life better for people. Potential clients may agree “that is a really good idea” or “I can totally see myself using that” but mostly they never do.


Painkillers pack the punch as they solve an immediate problem and hopefully they do it so well, that customers become addicted to them. Google is a painkiller; it solves our daily need to search for and find information fast.


Yet, Painkiller products or services are not necessarily the holy grail to strive for. Companies like Clash of Clans, a mobile game, making $1.5 million in a day (2015) are clear indicators that candy can be a holy grail too. Similarly, there are many Vitamin companies out there like yoga studios, personal trainers, life insurance, tertiary education that are doing well.


It seems Candy, Vitamin and Painkiller companies can all do well. So then it seems, the real question is how can you be all three to your clients?


Facebook is a good example of being a three-in-one

  • Facebook the Candy – for a bored employee trying to make it to clock off, Facebook is the perfect place to waste some time. If not Facebook, it would be some other time-consuming activity.
  • Facebook the Vitamin – a working mother who wants to stay in touch with friends and family and share or celebrate events and photos. It is nice but not critical.
  • Facebook the Painkiller – a lonely widow trying to keep up with her children in another country. Without Facebook for this individual, there is a real pain.


Check-in and ask yourself these questions about your product or service:

If you have Candy, are you offering something that gives people real pleasure? Does it make them feel good? Will they lose track of time?

If you are selling a Vitamin, how addictive is your offering? Will people want to keep using what you are offering? How frequently will they use it? Can it become a painkiller in the future?

Are you focusing on the right group of customers?

A candy for one person could be a vitamin or painkiller for another.