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Why does Microsoft disdain its own customers?

I’ve had the good fortune to spend a lot of time around many different types of companies, in a bunch of different industries.  And I’ve learned something about corporate values.

Some companies like to make money by creating products and services that really excite their customers. They genuinely put the customers’ needs first, and try to meet or exceed customer expectations. Their leaders know that if they make products that delight customers, they will end up making plenty of money. Apple talks about wanting to delight customers, and it really shows in their products.

Other companies like to make money. They are less concerned with how they earn that money. Their primary focus is making money, and they really aren’t as concerned about whether their products and services delight their customers. If they see an opportunity to make a little more money by doing something that their customers won’t like–well, they don’t see a problem with that; they go for the money. Their primary focus is making money; their customers’ needs are secondary. In fact, their customers’ needs are really only considered when meeting those needs coincides with making money.

Microsoft is the second type of company.

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How to Get a Rock-Star Understanding of Your Market

How do you describe your market?

When I ask people to describe their market, they often say something like, “Most of our customers are in their mid-20s, just out of college.” Or they might use titles: “Our customers are CIOs at healthcare companies.” And while these are reasonable answers, they lack the necessary insight to help focus the company on gaining more customers.

My next question: “How much of your market do you think you can get?”

Not surprisingly, the answer is usually some fraction, such as, “About 30%” or, “It’s a huge market–we’d be very happy with 2%.”

And that’s the problem. They’ve just described a demographic that might purchase their product or service, but they really haven’t described what motivates those people to purchase, or how they can influence that purchase decision.

Here is a simple but powerful way to segment and think about your market:

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