Last week, my daughter-in-law arrived at our house with two really enthusiastic grandkids after a stop at the mall. My granddaughter was carrying a brand new Build-a-Bear. And my grandson was all fired up about a new bag of Legos he was allowed to buy… and couldn’t wait for help from Grandpa in building something really cool.
I’m not sure if you’ve purchased Legos lately, but they’ve changed. You don’t just get a tub of random blocks and connectors that follow your imagination. Now, they’re selling sets of very specific blocks that are to be assembled in very specific ways… whether that’s a pirate ship, space ship, or some other previously decided toy. The parts in each bag are so specific that its contents could not yield anything other than the toy pictured on the front of the package.
Alas, I longed for the right of free assembly, where the same collection of Lego blocks could be an airplane, or an elephant, or a bridge for toy cars… or anything else you could imagine or want. You weren’t buying “a” product, you were buying an infinite set of possibilities, limited only by your imagination.
As you think of your company’s marketable assets—the products and services that you sell—are you so consistently assembling the same ones in the same ways that your customers could grow bored of the offering? Have your packages become so narrow and predictable that you or your clients have forgotten how to use the individual components to build new, creative solutions?
It took about half an hour to build my grandson’s pre-conceived Lego toy. Then, it took him about three minutes to become bored with it. Had we more parts to consider and use, we could have dismantled the Star Wars transport and turned it into something more appealing, fresh, and fun. Instead, it just sat there, the same old thing pictured on the package.
Selling pre-conceived bundles and combo meals are great when the customer is in a hurry and doesn’t want to think about what they’re buying. But sometimes, a conversation about the individual assets and capabilities your company has to offer can lead to a much more fulfilling relationship (and budget). Yes, you should show them your building blocks can be used to create a ship, or a plane, or a bridge. But that’s not the end, just a beginning.