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Field Note 6 – Do an MVP

Field Note 6 – Do an MVP

The second in a four-part exploration of getting ideas out of your head and into action.  Part one here. Eric Reis is right.  The only way to learn something real about your new or improved product is to get it in front of the right people early, before you feel it’s finished, and listen to what they’re saying.  He calls it a Minimum Viable Product; MVP.  Two keys here: It needs only to be enough to deliver the basic value you propose to deliver. Better this way (let users tell you how to improve it) rather than spending that time pre-product launch making the improvements and final refinements YOU think users will want. The whole of what you’re selling (price, product definition) doesn’t have to be 100% refined.  Don’t wait and wait and wait until the product is ready.  Do it quickly.   Watch how people react.  Are they trying it?  What do they think it is? Are they buying?  Then “finish” the product based on what buyers tell you it ought to be. His world is silicon valley, full of digital things that can be built and refined quickly.  But the same applies to ANYTHING, any value proposition, delivered by a tangible or intangible product. Because all we sell is a value proposition.  Whether it’s delivered by a product or service doesn’t matter.  His book. So, focus on the value proposition and not the product or service.  Get that value proposition in front of people as quickly as possible.  Let users tell you what your value proposition ought to be. Then start learning and refining.  As quickly as possible. How? How would people expect to... read more
Field Note 5: Acting on Important Marketing Ideas

Field Note 5: Acting on Important Marketing Ideas

Starting is hard. You know you know what I mean. That marketing idea brewing in your head, right along side the questions that keep you from putting it into action- What will it cost? What are all the moving parts? What’s the best way to make it work? Whatever “it” is, chances are the picture you have in your mind is of a complete, successful result. But, that perfect picture is the thing that makes starting so hard because we tend to resist starting hard things.  Simplify the goal and starting gets easier. Testing – The Key to Getting Started There are lots of steps between where you are now and that perfect vision. Better to rethink the goal down into the first few steps — think test — than to resist starting. Then just start! If you test something, that’s all you’re doing, just testing. You can test it, can’t you? Doesn’t that feel different (better!) when I say let’s test a new email campaign, let’s test getting white papers or webinars on the website as a way to collect leads?  It’s just a test. . . I’ve seen my clients make substantial changes for three decades by responding to four simple words, “Let’s just test it”. Believe me, you can get going on a test in 72 hours. A webpage up, some copy written, crank up a Google Adwords campaign to push some traffic through the page. Measure, adjust, repeat. If you have an idea floating around in your head and not getting out, rethinking the goal into a test is the best way I know to get started on it. Try it, it... read more
Field Note 4

Field Note 4

Narrative (storytelling) is powerful because it is built on cause and effect. Narrative, or storytelling,  describes cause and affect.  Cause and effect, by definition, create movement.  This engages us and carries us along. Compare: Jack is a 10-year veteran of our customer service department and cares deeply about customer satisfaction.  Time and time again Jack goes above and beyond to make sure customers are happy. As he drove home from work Jack noticed an email on his iPhone from a customer he had spoken to that afternoon. He pulled his car over and spent the next 15 minutes on the phone digging through reference materials in his briefcase to walk the customer through troubleshooting the software installation. The first Jack barely gets your attention because there’s no narrative.  The second Jack?  You know he’s committed to excellent customer service.  Noticed an email, pulled his car to the side of the road, dug through his briefcase, to walk the customer through.  Cause and effect.  Movement.  All coming from narrative.  This is what storytelling does. Our brains are wired for cause and effect.  It’s how we make sense out of situations.  It helps us remember. If you want to persuade, if you want to be remembered, use narrative. Tell a... read more
Field Note 3

Field Note 3

Stories demonstrate, they don’t tell. You’ve heard this admonition often:  don’t tell, demonstrate. This’s why demos are so powerful.  Same with testimonials.  And stories. I was interviewing a client ‘s customer hunting for ways to talk about the client’s commitment to customer service.  The customer said, “Ed literally camped out in our conference room until the go-live date.” Now, that’s a pretty short story.  But, it’s better than anything I can say. Telling gets you customer-focused this or that or “we continually rate our employees based on customer satisfaction” blah, blah, blah. Don’t tell.  Demonstrate.  And stories... read more
Field Note 2

Field Note 2

Human communication changes. Human nature does not. This is important because whether you’re using a web page, radio ad, email or going door-to-door, there’s still a human at the other end. Regardless of how much you understand the medium, you better understand human nature.  Or, like most marketing, nothing happens.... read more
Field Note 1

Field Note 1

Marketing used to be about shouting the loudest. For about thirty years, from the 50s through the 70s that’s all you had to do. Pepsi had to hit the spot.  That’s all.  And cigarettes tasted smooth, or made you feel like a real man. And it worked.  Hard to believe, but I was there, I saw it. But no more. People are getting good at finding the things they like.  On the internet. Now, marketing is about finding (or being found by) the people who can’t live without your product, telling them about it and making sure it really is a product they don’t want to live without. On the internet.... read more

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Write to or call Hamilton on (480) 948-0029 today.