For awhile, I worked in a particular industry. It is one that use to thrive, but at the turn of the century it began a very slow decline.
The problem was this industry’s product. It is is one that is necessary and is sold to college students, but recently, with the economy the way it is, they are finding that college students are not wanting their product because of its very hefty price tag. I went to a conference where they were discussing the issue.
I am out of college two years now, but I remember it well. I had no money. I could barely afford to feed myself because most of my money went to rent and tuition. My parents were middle class and they helped me with what they had, but it was hard.
The industry leaders at the conference did not understand why they could not get students to buy their products. Students were turning to free alternatives on the internet or buying them second hand on sources such as Amazon.
I heard things like, “We got this person to help with this particular model. Why can’t students respect that?” “Students should respect the work we put into the product.” “I think it’s the parent’s fault. Students today have such an entitlement problem.”
While I agree with the latter of those statements, that has nothing to do with their product. When my supervisor asked me what I learned from the conference, I told her, “The captains of this industry are completely out of touch with the world.”
While they were complaining about a student’s sense of entitlement, they were projecting their own sense of entitlement. A college student looked over their product, decided it was too expensive, and chose a cheaper or free one. They did not care about the work or what specialist helped put it together. That is how it works.
This industry had never experienced competition before and now it was competing with other sources. They thought they were entitled to the college student’s patronage. They were angry that the students disagreed.
When you create a product, or continually sell one, do not lose touch with your customer base, much less get angry with them. You have got to adapt and learn what pleases your customers. Whether it is a smaller, cheaper version, lowering your prices, or redesigning it to make it worth the price, keep following after your customer. They will change, change with them.