No shouting allowed
(Read web version.)
Marketing methods which 30 years ago were widespread, such as interrupting many people via TV ads, do not work anymore. Now it’s about the story of how you create a meaningful difference for those you seek to serve.
I hope that this post will help you recognise opportunities that create value and develop products that people love. It draws upon the insights shared by Bernadette Jiwa in her book Difference.
Don’t just be different, make a difference
Innovation was seen as making incremental steps to be different from the competition then to get people to notice and buy the products. This thinking brought things to market via the following steps: Idea → Develop → Launch → Market.
In contrast, making a difference is about starting with empathy for the people you wish to serve. It’s about re-imagining the problem they have then deciding to address it. This thinking changes the steps to: Truth → People → Idea → Launch.
Instead of shouting, share meaningful stories
While we are surrounded by ads, it’s pretty clear that these traditional marketing methods often fail. There are too many of them, they are impersonal and there’s no reason for us to care about a particular attempt to grab our attention. They just shout at us and become annoying.
Effective marketing is about telling stories potential customers can identify with. If your story shares something meaningful about someone's life your potential customer is far more likely to engage.
An approach to creating appropriate stories is outlined in Bernadette Jiwa’s difference model which focuses on the six Ps: Principles, Purpose, People, Personal, Perceptions and Product.
Focus on your principle truths
The first step in the difference model is to focus on your principles or fundamental truths about you, the market and target customers.
Truth about me: We all have some unfair advantages, in the form of money, intelligence, location, education, experience and status. In relation to the change we want to make, it is useful to recognise these. It is also important to identify and accept what you don’t have access to. Airbnb’s founders had no capital, but tremendous creative and design skills.
Truth about the market: How does the market or industry work? How can you use this insight to your advantage or change them? Warby Parker (selling glasses on-line) founders identified that the industry was supplier focused (with one company owning many brands) and was not customer centric.
Truth about customers: Think about the people you are trying to serve. What influences their behaviours? What limits them or causes them stress? What do they aspire to? With this understanding, how can you make a difference? Sara Blakey, Spanx founder, recognised that many women were unhappy with underwear that caused unsightly lines under clothes. She designed garments to address this.
What’s your purpose?
You need to identify your purpose. What do you want to achieve and what impact you want to have? Think of customers as people with emotions and desires, not some abstract numbers on a chart. Having a well defined purpose provides a focus for you and keeps you on track.
New York based By the Way Bakery set out to offer its customers (many with dietary constraints relating to Gluten or Dairy intolerance) delicious, top quality sweets, desserts and other bakery products.
Create something people can relate to
What type of people are you trying to serve? Describe their characteristics and what they care about. For Airbnb’s customers this would include, having a sense of adventure, travelling more than average, enjoying connecting with others and being comfortable with on-line tools.
Your product needs to make a personal connection with users and ensure they perceive the difference in the quality offered and feel good when using it. With the shoe company TOMS, for every pair of shoes purchased they promise to donate a pair to a child in the developing world. Uber realised that users distrusted the taxi business so they set out to offer a fast, reliable and cost effective service.
Understand the market, customers and you then create products
Having researched your customers, business and industry, now is the time to develop your product. Your product needs to make a difference for people by improving their lives in a meaningful way.
Airbnb enabled travellers and accommodation owners to talk to each other and provide feedback. Airbnb offered great customer experience and changed the travel industry. Warby Parker offered a great selection of good value, fashionable glasses on-line while donating to needy people on a one-for-one basis.
Difference map by Bernadette Jiwa
Best Marketing Strategy Ever by Steve Jobs
This post proposes using the Difference Model (6 Ps: Principles, Purpose, People, Personal, Perceptions and Product) to develop products that make a meaningful difference to users. Next Sunday’s (Boxing Day) post will look back at what I’ve covered in the A Bit Gamey blog to-date.
I wish you a very Happy Christmas.