One of the more useful ways to look at the world through your customer's eyes instead of your own is to ask what problem you're solving.
If you're Apple, you can create a product that solves the "I don't have that object, and now that I've seen it I desperately want it" problem. Jimmy Choo solves that problem (or did when the brand was launched in the 90s), and so does Hermès and the Bugaboo. If you have the talent and the marketing budget, it's not a bad route, but it's closed to most of us.
Seth Godin solves that problem as well. He gives you answers to problems you didn't understand you had until you read him. Smaller marketing budget, but there's still the talent thing.
(Godin makes the excellent point in this video of a speech to Google that if the problem you're solving isn't compelling, you've got a rough road ahead. No one cares much about their "I'd like a slightly better version of something that is already just fine" problem.)
Some useful problems to solve
Aaron Wall solves the "I want to be on page one of Google" problem. Copyblogger solves the "my writing doesn't make people do what I want them to" problem. Ed Dale solves the "I hate my life in a cube farm" problem.
eBay solves the "my mom threw away all the great stuff I had when I was a kid" problem. Blogger and WordPress and TypePad solve the "Web coding is hard" problem. Google solves the "Internet is too big" problem.
I started out solving the "writing is hard" problem for my employers and customers. Somewhere along the line I also started to help people with their "making Web sites is hard" problem.
The problem that's interesting to me now is "our customers don't love us enough" problem. How to take a company with a really great product and ease that light out from under the bushel. How to tell the world what you're already doing right. How to communicate respect and integrity . . . with words on a page or a screen, and with a million other things, small and big.
At some point, you need to ask what problem you're solving. (Whether that's with your business, your nonprofit, your project, your committee.) What problem do you wish you solved? Is it a real problem? Does it matter to someone other than you?
This can be a terribly scary question. You might find that your answer is, well, weak. It's not going to get any less painful to figure that out tomorrow.
Peter Drucker once asked: What problem are you able to solve rather easily, that would be hard for most people?
Now, who could you help with that?