Case in point: female empowerment. For many years women complained that there weren’t enough female action figures. They argued that the lack of female action figures was a slight to female fans. Toy companies countered by saying the sales data showed that their target audience was boys and they put out toys for their customers. As the issue of female empowerment became more of a hot button issue, Warner Brothers, DC Comics, Mattel, Marvel and Hasbro decided to put out entire lines aimed to support girls. Backed by blockbuster movies and animated television shows Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Batgirl, Harley Quinn, Storm, Scarlet Witch and more female characters showed up on toy store shelves.
The figures sat on the shelves, moved to clearance aisles and closeout stores, and in Toys R Us were among the last toys left as the stores cleared their inventory. Why? The sales data was correct. The people supporting the cause were not customers. By supporting the cause, the companies put out dozens of toys that their customers didn’t want and wouldn’t buy.
Supporting causes is great. Design workplace policies that support your beliefs. Donate money or volunteer time to non-profit organizations. When it comes to your products, focus on your customers.