Watching Consumer Behavior

by Dionne Aiken

A couple of weeks ago, I attended WordCamp Orlando with a roster of amazing speakers from publishers to developers.  Two guest speakers, Dan Maccarone with Hard Candy Shell & Andrew Zipern with Rocket Fuel, talked about why online products succeed.  To illustrate their key points they compared the success of Facebook to that of its rival MySpace.

Facebook’s success, they asserted, is due to its simplicity and usability, stripping away all the extra stuff and making it easier to connect with friends.  But behind it all, the social aspect and technical considerations are complex.  There are new features added regularly to improve the user experience.  They listen and respond to user behavior.

As Christmas quickly approaches, I think about all the wrapping paper flying off the shelves.  Who knew that wrapping paper would become such a phenomenon when the Hall Brothers ran out of tissue paper?  Gifts were once wrapped in tissue paper until the holiday season of 1917 rolled around and the Hall Brothers’ store sold out of tissue paper.  They began selling decorative envelope lining at 10 cents a sheet which sold quickly.  Realizing this success, the following year they sold the same liners as wrapping paper at 3 sheets for 25 cents.  The rest is history.

The Hall Brothers did what Facebook and many other successful companies are doing and that is responding to consumer behavior.  Our clients and consumers will tell us everything we need to know, but are we listening?  If not we may be missing out.

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