Changing Minds In The Marketplace

Jack TroutJuly 8, 20091 min

It’s futile trying to change minds in the marketplace. For example:

*Xerox lost hundreds of millions of dollars trying to convince the market that Xerox machines that didn’t make copies were worth the money. No one would buy their computers. But they still buy their copiers.

*Volkswagen’s share price dropped over 60 points when they tried to convince the market the VW wasn’t just a small, reliable, economical car like the Beetle. No one bought their big, fast cars. They brought back the Beetle and people flocked to buy them.

*Coca-Cola blew both prestige and money in an effort to convince the market they had a better thing than ‘‘the real thing.’’ No one bought their New Coke. But their Classic version sells as well as ever.

When the market makes up its mind about a product, there’s no changing that mind.

As John Kenneth Galbraith once said, ‘‘Faced with the choice between changing one’s mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof.’’

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  • Henrique Scholz

    July 8, 2009 at 8:25 am

    Nice to read a small but intelligent post.
    About Xerox, this association is so strong here in Brazil that people do not say “I’ll make a copy of this doc”. Everyone says “I’ll make a ‘xerox’ of this doc”.


  • Jackie Adkins

    July 8, 2009 at 9:58 pm

    Howdy, first time commenting here, but have been following the blog. I agree with your point here and would add that it illustrates just how important perception is in the marketplace.

    Even if your product is the “best” product (measured in whatever categories you use), this is meaningless if your product is not perceived as the best. As marketers, it’s important to be aware of the perceptions of your product and find a way to use them to your advantage.

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