This is a long quote from a 1967 article published in Journal of Industrial Economics. This paper was written as a response to Galbraith’s theory of Consumer Sovereignty.
The sensible manufacturer works with the environment, not against it. He tries to satisfy desires, latent and patent, the consumer already has; it is much cheaper than creating new ones.
First, he tries to identify these desires. To do this he now has all the aids of marketing research. If he only researches into which detergent the consumer considers to wash cleanest, he may miss the fact that the consumer now also wants her detergent to be pleasantly perfumed.
That is why so many of the new products even of the biggest firms fail miserably in test market. It is rarely because they are poor products technically. It is because there is something in their mix of qualities that fails to appeal to the consumer.
Once the manufacturer has found out what he thinks the public wants, he has to embody it in a product.
When the manufacturer does find an answer at a reasonable price, he still has to sell it to the public. He may think the answer will work; he may feel the price to be reasonable. He does not know whether the public will see it as he does.
If you go further back you most likely will find yet another article saying the same thing in more arcane language.
Fast forward to present day and you have exactly the same concepts stated above packaged in so many different ways. Every Guru has a name for it, they want us to believe none of the existing methods work. They brand these as their own, e.g., “Trade-off“, “Customer Development”, “Freemium”, etc.
Unfortunately, when the audience suspends its skepticism or if the Gurus are popular enough, their re-packaged ideas take roots as original thesis. Worse, the original ideas these new brands represent are cast aside as anachronisms.
There really is nothing new in marketing. Only new catch-phrases that fit the language of the time.