Look, I get it. Our culture is jaded. Information overload is making us less sensitive to everything. And it’s pushing you right out of business.
Nowadays, viral videos have a shelf life of approximately 0.57 seconds. Even truly awesome stuff barely registers for more than a few days.
Remember this guy?
Seems… so long ago doesn’t it? Wake me up when someone gets shot from a cannon from the moon. Until then… *yawn*.
Everything presented to us now has to be sold as “awesome” or “mind-blowing” if it even has a chance of catching our collective attention. Most of these offers make me feel like they’re… well, let McKayla tell you.
Upon close examination, once you get past the BS and the hype, not much out there is truly world-class. The brilliant marketing effort is the star.
Don’t believe the hype. Your product doesn’t have to be awesome for you to succeed. Shocking to hear, I know. Allow me to explain.
Wait… Am I Encouraging Mediocrity?
Not at all.
Here’s the problem. Most stuff out there is not “awesome”. Not. Even. Close.
It may be good, even great. But it’s sold and packaged to us that way to increase it’s perceived value. The oldest marketing trick in the book.
Once we’ve made the decision to buy, our brain will justify the purchase, often using the same words that marketers implanted in our brains when we first came across the product’s description. For a great primer on this concept, read “Influence” by Robert Cialdini (aff). Buy it or borrow it from your local library if you have to.
It’s this “myth of awesome” that has kept many (including me at one point) from ever launching a product or service because it’s not “awesome” enough. We tinker endlessly with it, often giving up before we’ve had a chance to launch it.
A successful product has to do one thing: solve a customer’s “perceived” need.
How awesome or cool it is has nothing to do with it. If it fails to solve a problem or address a need (even if it’s the need to be entertained), it will flop.
Aim to be of value to your target group of customers.
The “Perfect Product” Is Also a Myth
There’s no such thing as a universally beloved product, so don’t waste your time creating one.
“Well, what about a perfect product for your customers then?”
Unless you have a crystal ball or mind-reading powers, you’ll never know what *exactly* is it that your future customers will want. That’s why we do surveys and engage people to have a general idea of what is it that they’re looking for. Much easier to find an audience for your product first than to create a product in hopes of finding an audience.
Before you spend weeks, or even months (Lord knows I’ve done this) creating something that *nobody* wants, how about you take a different approach this time?
Create Your Minimum Viable Product
What’s a “Minimum Viable Product” (MVP)? It’s your first product or service that can be launched to determine whether you have a market or not for what you plan to offer.
Here’s a much easier way to find out what your customer wants:
Create an outline of your product or service. Sketch out the features and ask people to sign up to be updated about the launch date if they’re interested in your offer.
If you get a good number of people interested in your offer, you’ll know if it’s worth your time and investment to even attempt to create in the first place.
If you’re bold enough and have a strong outline, you can go so far as to even pre-sell your product to be delivered upon competition. At worst, be ready to eat refund costs if not enough people sign up to make it worth your time. At best, you’ll have the funds needed to create and launch if your pre-selling goes well.
Your MVP won’t be perfect. And it doesn’t have to be.
Just get it out there and improve it based on the feedback you get from paying customers. All successful companies do this well. Once Product 1.0 is launched, it’s successively revised and incrementally improved, tailored to what the customers want.
For an expanded view of this concept, read “The Lean Startup” by Eric Ries (aff), an excellent book on this subject.
Just Get It Done
What are you tinkering with right now? Are you waiting for the “perfect time” to launch it?
Don’t wait for it to be perfect. You can improve later. Get it out there.
Your future customers are waiting.