“The Homer” and Finding Your Market Opportunity
Season 2, episode 15, Homer Simpson reunites with his long lost half-brother, Herb–a captain of the auto industry–in the “Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?” episode. Sick and tired of cliche, boring cars made by high-end designers, Homer’s brother asks him to design a car for the everyday person. He cedes his control to Homer, with an “anything goes” attitude.
Homer explores every gluttonous pleasure to design a $82,000 car (dubbed “The Homer”) for the “everyday person.” Equipped with tail fins, a bubble dome and three horns that play, “La Cucaracha,” the touted car of the future is a hideous monstrosity of a vehicle. The auto maker goes out of business and bankrupts Herb Simpson.
Without the middle men, Homer had free reign to do whatever he pleased. Why not put a tail fin on a car? It looks cool, right? No one could answer this question in the planning stages. It was only when the car made it to the showroom was the question answered. It is cool, right?
Had Herb kept the marketers, brand managers, research and development teams, he would be able to answer that question. No, Homer, no one thinks it’s cool. You are the only one that would want to buy such a hideous car, but couldn’t afford it.
As CEO, Herb had a strategic vision of where the company should be heading. Up until his encounter with his brother, he relied on that vision and had met success doing so. When he reunited with his brother, Herb abandoned that vision, cut out the “middle men” and ceded total creative control to his dim-witted brother.
Had Herb kept his team, they could guide Homer to a practical solution. As you launch new products and services, make sure there is a market. Is anyone going to say, wow, that’s cool? Just because you really think it’s an amazing idea, it’s critical to have a marketing opportunity and target audience to support your ideas and ensure they are viable. Last thing you want, is “The Homer” in your display case.