Ever created / sold something so compelling that people lined up to get it?
I remember a trade show about 10 years ago at which the crowd around our booth was so big, they flowed into the booths across the aisle (yes, they were angry – rather than appreciating the traffic).
It got to the point where our existing customers were taking prospects out of our booth and showing them the product on their own laptop. They’d find a quiet(er) spot somewhere and demo the product for them, more or less making it clear to them that they were nuts to leave without buying.
They did this for two reasons:
- We were totally, unbelievably swamped – despite having five people in the booth.
- These folks believed in the product so strongly that they couldn’t wait to tell someone else about it.
There’s some important psychology in the second one. We all want others to acknowledge our decisions.
If we show someone else a product/service we use and they like it, it makes us feel better. Interestingly, we need this validation despite being sure of our decision.
Still…they knew what the product did for them – and they still did this.
That seems good until you look Apple’s recent performance.
Selling two million iPads in 59 days.
In case you’re having trouble getting your head wrapped around that, try this:
Apple sold an iPad every three seconds for 59 straight days.
To be sure, 50-60-75-100 million iPod Touches and iPhones already in peoples’ hands helped that cause immensely.
Not just because they’re Apple “fanboys” (male or not), but because they *know* they’ll be able to use this new product as soon as they take it out of the box.
They know this even though they can’t exactly decide what they will use it for.
That’s compelling. Some people use it to read more. Some use it to browse more. Some use it for video or writing or gaming.
No matter what they’ll end up using it for, they were confident enough about the product to line up all over the US just to buy one on the first day it’s available.
Compelling makes you want to buy that thing even before knowing much about it. Not because of rampant consumerism, but because the product makes you think.
It stirs your mind.
Its design is enough to make you think about it while driving to town.
What you might do with it. How it might change other things and make them better.
All without spending time wondering how to use it.
Easy as pie
Think about how important that is – because few people do.
It’s incredibly easy to lose sight of what *real* ease of use is.
When you pick up a pencil or a hammer, using it comes naturally.
And in the case of the iPod (etc), we’re talking about a device that’s substantially more complex.
Seth Godin noted that he saw a two year old in a stroller holding an iPod Touch.
Not just chewing on it and throwing it around, but actively using it – and doing so properly.
Ever try to teach a two year old how to use a computer? Sure, they can move a mouse around and peck randomly at the keyboard. Beyond that, most of them haven’t yet developed high quality language or motor skills to do much more.
And despite that, they know how to use an iPod touch/iPhone.
“Easy enough for a caveman to do it”. Or a two year old.
How did they get by?
Are you thinking about your customers in a way that will enable you to create a product/service that compelling?
A product/service that makes your best, most insightful customers think “How did I get by before they invented this?”
Want to learn more about Mark or ask him to write about a business, operations or marketing problem? See Mark’s site or contact him via email at mriffey at flatheadbeacon.com.
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