3 Questions Before Marketing Your Product

3 Questions Before Marketing Your Product

When explaining products to other people, entrepreneurs tend to get hung up on all the wrong details. I can’t really blame them … Spending so much time immersed in building their businesses can make it hard to see the forest for the trees, so to speak.

This is why, when discussing marketing strategy with clients, I often ask them to contemplate three different aspects of whatever it is they’re selling:

  1. What it is
  2. What is does
  3. What it means

Take the iPhone, for instance—it’s technically a bunch of wires, computer stuff that I’ll never begin to comprehend, the tears of Chinese child laborers and a battery housed in glass and metal. While the engineering geniuses responsible for designing this product (and a small number of nerds who are smarter than I’ll ever be) probably find all of this fascinating, the truth is that almost no one really cares. Seriously, try reading this article about the guts of the iPhone 6 and tell me your eyes don’t glaze over by Step 3.

In most cases, “what it is” is not the thing that will sell your product to a broad population of people.

This cute photo captured thanks to my iPhone

Now on to the next question, “what it does”—the iPhone is a mobile phone with a mobile operating system. It includes a camera, ability for web browsing and allows us to operate an exhaustive number of third-party apps. This is slightly more interesting than the question of “what it is,” but it is still not the stuff quality marketing materials are made of.

What your product does is more compelling, but save these details for later.

The key to selling almost any products is going to rest on “what it means.” Now, when I say “what it means,” I’m referring to the impact it will have on your consumer’s life. In the case of the iPhone, it means that I was able to move far away from my family and still talk or FaceTime with them regularly. I was able to easily navigate a strange city. I was able to quickly send ultrasound pictures of her first great-grandkid to my grandmother before she passed away while I was six months pregnant. And now I'm able to capture all of the cute day-to-day stuff my daughter does and continue to share it with our family across the country.

If you’re going to build a great advertisement, you have to find a way to identify with your consumer and communicate why your product will make their life better.

Now I challenge you: What themes would you choose to market your product when considering it through this lense? How might these considerations change your current advertising?

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