Never underestimate the little things and their power over success. It is often the small, overlooked factors that can have the most pressing influence on a purchase decision. A successful manager must be aware of correlations between known behaviors and other potentially (much smaller) factors.
An example of this was Lakeshore’s entry into the leisure market on one of its first routes. Early on, management decided it was important to try to focus on either families or individuals (or couples). Families were a larger market, but it cost a lot more for a family to fly (and its more of a hassle) than it is for an individual or a couple. Thus, management thought that the company was smart to cater to individuals and couples as opposed to families. What management didn’t realize was the actual behavior of individuals. While we did a good business in catering to spouses who were taking a trip to see their families at weekend homes, we didn’t do well in singles and childless couples. The reasons for the lack of penetration were the “little things” we overlooked: dogs and bikes. We never took into consideration that the singles market was much more likely to have pets and that they were much more active than the family markets, thus the market often traveled with either dogs or bikes (neither of which was allowed on our aircraft).
Try This: Spend time in the market. Identify individual customer behaviors. By immersing yourself in the market (as a customer) you will better understand the nuances that will ultimately make or break your product.
Avoid This: Don’t sweat every detail. While the small nuances can make or break your product, its also important to remember that no product is perfect and that compromises must be made. Unfortunately, its up to you, as the manager to decide which small details can be overlooked and which are absolutely essential for success.