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American Girl Dolls; If Only Founder Had Listened to Market Research!

When I took my daughter to NYC a few years ago, the only thing more painful than sitting through Matilda and Annie was visiting the American Girl doll store :). American Girl is amazing b/c parents are willing to pay $200 for simple dolls and accessories.

And, I might have missed that entire experience if the founder had listened to market research! The Moms in the research group said they’d never pay that kind of money for dolls for their preteens.

But – the researchers and the Moms missed something – American Girl does not sell dolls; it sells “experiences” for preteens.

In Clayton Christensen’s new book, Competing Against Luck, he talks about not only understanding customers but understanding the job to be done for clients. Clients hire us to do jobs for them.

Blackberry thought consumers wanted better communication devices, but Steve Jobs figured out they wanted storage devices, web access, and fashion statements. He too ignored market research.

Christensen also talks about a fast food chain that had no idea consumers bought milkshakes for breakfast b/c they were so convenient to consume. The chain missed the “job” consumers hired the milkshake for.

Businesses must closely analyze the job or jobs their clients hire them for, if they want to innovate or grow. Most of us miss some of the jobs.

At JVM, for example, we are not just hired to close loans I realized.  We are hired to alleviate stress – with communication, friendliness, updates and competence.

Jay Voorhees
Founder/Broker | JVM Lending
(855) 855-4491 | DRE# 01524255, NMLS# 335646