In my entrepreneurship class at Duke we always start out the semester talking about recognizing problems, specifically problems that at they see every day around them, with the idea that problems often lead to opportunities. One of my students brought up the subject of the incredibly small dorm rooms at Duke, and all the students agreed that they were small as compared to other schools that their friends attend and a drawback to going to school at Duke. I asked them: what possible benefit would it be to the school to increase the room size. One noted that larger rooms would make the school more attractive and could result in better students.
I then asked them how many of them even considered dorm room size when looking at schools. Zero. Not even considered. It probably ranked even lower than zero in the eyes of their parents, who are heavy decision influencers. The point? Entrepreneurs and marketeers often make assumptions regarding how benefits that their products and services provide will translate into sales. What they fail to understand is that many of these benefits, no matter how valuable, may not get their customers to pull the trigger on a buying decision. There is no substitute to digging into the customers buying and decision making process.