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Subjective and Objective

By: Chris Dodge
Posted: August 8, 2013

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The reason why you want to know how much each product is objective and Subjective is to figure out your primary focus. If you are selling a product that is more subjective, you must then identify the strengths of those properties and the weaknesses.

I had an old friend from Argentina. He had a baby care line that was the market leader in Argentina at the time, and for years he would ask me for help in exporting his products because he thought he had a great line. When he finally did, unfortunately, he came to realize his line was dominated by the subjective property and that much of this would need to change for other countries' markets. Specifically, one of the best products he had was a baby perfume and cologne, and from the second the child entered the room, everyone knew it because the fragrance was strong. There was nothing wrong in another culture with having such as tradition, but when he looked at exporting seriously, he found the fragrance for some products would need to be toned down a great deal—and that some products would not be acceptable in some markets.

Another reason why it is important to know the objective and subjective properties in each product is to then focus on achieving the goal of the product. Contrary to many product developers' thinking, there are no “best” products in the world. To reach that would mean the product fulfills the subjective perception to every consumer every time. Since that very likely ever going to be possible, knowing that you need to look at subjective properties more leads you to understand that you can focus on lowering the costs of the product based on objective properties. Then use that to lower the overall price point or invest more in the subjective.

This does not mean in any way that you should make a cheap product. It means that once you have identified what you are trying to achieve, do it without wasting money. You can always create more subjective properties, such as a shampoo with additional features, but again, the $6,000-a-pound compound that is used solely to achieve the objective property is a waste of funds when all you need is a good, stable, old fashioned, $50-a-pound one.

Subjective Sells

Today's brands are too often trying to selling the objective. They want the best “all-natural” ingredient and will pay top dollar, when in fact, the lower-priced ingredients will still do the job. When you are buying all-natural ingredients, what is the purpose? Is it something that will affect the objective property? Or will it affect the subjective? If it is objective or subjective, as much as the customer might want the natural, they still want value, and you are wasting your dollars on the all-natural rose oil made from virgin forests and crushed upon the feet of young virgin girls, when almost all product developers will tell you that you can get same results with a lower cost option.