Yesterday I drew on the work of Clayton Christensen and Efosa Ojomo to identify 5 causes of non-consumption of products or solutions:
- Lack of awareness of a product or solution;
- Lack of desire or will to obtain a solution;
- Lack of access to the solution;
- Lack of the resources – time, money, energy – needed to obtain or consume the solution;
- Lack of the skills needed to make use of an available solution.
Any one of these problems can stop people buying and using a product, and they’re all interlinked – which means that solving them will require a combination of technical, organisational/managerial, business model and marketing innovations.
The first two causes represent marketing and communication problems.*
Lack of awareness trumps all the others – unless the good can be passively consumed (if available), like clean air or chlorinated water.
Lack of desire for a product will prevent people from consuming an available solution at a given cost (of time, money, energy) and skill level – but good communication that convinces non-consumers of the product’s benefits could make the difference without any changes in cost. Prejudice (against the product, against the users or sellers of the product) could play a role here.
*Lack of desire may also indicate a quality problem – that is, people don’t want your product because (rightly or wrongly) they don’t think it’s worth the cost.
- How can you get the word about your product out to non-consumers? Where will they hear about you?
- Which voices or stories are most likely to reach and convince them?
- How can you communicate (truthfully) about how your products will make a difference? Which needs and wants does your product meet?
- How could you help the see the high costs of their current (less good) solutions?
- What words and phrases do your target non-consumers use to talk about their needs and aspirations related to your solution?
If you feel uncomfortable about “marketing,” here are two questions for checking your integrity:
- Do I believe that the value of this solution is greater than what my target non-consumer will pay for it (in time, money, effort)?
- If I was them, and I knew what I know, would I still be happy if to buy this product?