Buyers vs. Users

I've been tossing my head around like a salt shaker, but I can't get this article out of my brain. It was a just a simple technology piece in a newspaper Business section, but its implications were profound. It was about how "buyers" are different than "users."

Human nature drives product developers to drink. Why? Because we're all two people. When we consider buying a product, we want to feel like we're getting as much as possible for the money. So product developers pack millions of features into a single device to persuade us to choose it over simpler products. On the other hand, when we bring that same product home and start using it, we want simplicity. We quickly get frustrated with all those annoying features, we despise the product, and we bring it back.

I can't help but think that this is a metaphor for something. I mean, imagine how the "buyer" vs. "user" principle plays out in relationships.

Introducing the new comedy from Judd Apatow. He's a successful product developer. She's a picky personal shopper. Can his product attract her attention? After she takes it for a spin, will she still like it, or will she take it back? See "Buyer's Remorse," in theaters Friday...


Love it! I mean, think of all the iPhone buzz right now (and check out the NYTimes video on it--hilarious).

I'm salivating over the iPhone. It seems perfect. But there are so many problems--the locked-in agreement with AT&T (boo, hiss!), the battery question, the cost, the 1st generation bugs....yadda...yadda.

So, what does this buyer/user do? He agrees he's fed up with his current cell phone and is negotiating an upgrade. No iPhone (yet), no hybrid car (yet) but baby steps...
Anonymous said…
This reminds me of that old Groucho Marx quip, "I refuse to belong to any club that would have me as a member." We want to be inticed, but embraced is another thing altogether.
The Wordman said…
I have two words for you: "camera feature" -- I have a Nokia phone with a camera. after I got it, I loaded it up with crappy, low-res images of stuff, only to find that there was no way to offload the pics. if you want the cord to plug into your computer, it's $20-40. no thanks.

this also made me think of a story idea I had a while back: "Last Adapter," where a marketing guy comes up with the bright idea of finding people who are on the other end of the consumer spectrum from "First Adapters" and pitches ads/ products exclusively at them. never went beyond that concept, as a) I can't imagine how the marketer would find people who met his criteria, and b) how does he get people who don't buy anything new to buy something from him?

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