I hear quite often: Leo, please help me create or expand my platform, or my storefront for that matter. to which I say, ok. how do you envision this happening for yourself or your business? And then I hear, well I don’t know, maybe producing a podcast, or launching a webinar, or publishing a book, or creating a new clothing line, or whatever it is people do to create or expand their platform… and I say, ok.
No worries. So who is this solution for? And I get crickets. The silence is unbearable, then I hear words, just words. no coherence. just words… and that’s ok because that’s exactly where I want this person to be. This is a good place. Crickets are good.
You know why? Because it’s a really good sign that I get to help someone do it correctly. Is a chance to save one business owner from rework and frustration. So thinking back to the original predicament early in the example, did you notice what the common denominator was in all of the things people ask for help with? Well, if you didn’t catch it, here it is again. Podcast, webinar, book, clothing line.
Ok, so what’s the common denominator in all of them? Ok, I’ll tell you.. is Media. Yes, media. Almost every one that wants to create a solution for their customers is obsessed at starting with the media first which is quite honestly the last thing you should be thinking about when preparing to launch a new solution onto the marketplace.
In other words, thinking, or worrying, or planning the use of media first without allowing some time to think through the audience that will be consuming your product is an almost certain road to utter frustration and re-work, the one thing you want to avoid at all cost… rework is expensive and it’s all sunk cost. So let’s not start thinking about media first. There’s a smarter, more effective, and efficient way. I promise.
So what product format is right for you? It all depends on your industry and your niche. A solopreneur’s audience needs, desires, and consumption behaviors might be very different than those from a brick and mortar storefront, and could swing wide across the spectrum of consumer behavior for a service professional, consultant, or even more differently for a visionary entrepreneur. What’s my point? The media or the product format selection first starts with audience or customers.
So When creating a solution for anyone, whether you’re mixing up chocolate milk for your kids or putting together a solution to bring water to a village in Africa, we must always think of the audience first. Let’s use the chocolate milk example. Anyone who cares about delivering this solution, the chocolate milk, the right way would start the process by thinking about the audience first, the child. Even if you’re not the parent of this child, you would at least ask questions like How old is this child?
What’s their favorite glass or cup? Is it the red one, or is it the white one? Does he like his chocolate milk thick like a milkshake or less dense? Are they able to hold the cup themselves? Are there more than one child that wants chocolate milk?
Do we have enough for everyone? You see, these are normal questions anyone would ask themselves when attempting to prepare chocolate milk for a child. They started with the audience in mind. Who is this for? Knowing this information will dictate our behavior in the next step of the process.. The next step asks, What are we conveying to this audience, in this case the child.
After first understanding the audience for your solution, then we need to think about what are we going to say to them. This is the second step: the message. First was the audience, or the market, next is the message. What are saying to them? What’s the message ..Let’s keep going with the chocolate milk. So, we know who we’re serving, we know their likes, dislikes, and now it’s time to say the magic words.
Would you deliver chocolate milk in anger? Or would you be sweet? Knowing that our child would want to hear sweet words of encouragement alongside that deliciously beautiful glass of chocolate milk is a cue to understanding messaging at its purest form. Saying the right thing to the right person at the right time matters, a lot. When we start translating this into marketing, then we need to start thinking about words such as pain, and pleasure, and benefits, and why should they care about this product or feature, etc. always driven by what the consumer wants. typically they want gain a benefit, gain a pleasure, or avoid a pain.
Oh, and when thinking about benefits, always put yourself in this position.. do people wake up in the morning and say to themselves, Gee, I really need some leadership today. No, they don’t say that. no one says that. In reality people wake up and say things like, Gee I need to make some more money today, or Gee I hope I don’t get fired today, or Gee I’m so tired, or Gee I’m fat. And If I say Gee one more time I’m going to stop this episode!
No but seriously, I think you get it. First comes the audience or the market, then comes the message, or what do we want to convey to that audience that’s going to resonate with them and move them to action. And lastly, finally, the very last thing we worry about is the media in which the solution will be delivered. A product, mathematically speaking, is really the end outcome of what your solution brings to your ravenous customers.
So, to answer the question that’s the title of this podcast, What product format is right for you, well, it depends on who the audience is and what do we want to convey to them. These 2 critical elements will dictate the product format.
Here’s the closing argument: Why should you care about all this? For 2 reasons: If you’re struggling with your marketing, whether online or otherwise, or you’re a person that finds yourself saying “I’m good at sales or I’m good at marketing” often, but your belief doesn’t necessarily translate into dollars in your pocket, this is especially for you. #1 this is important because most people cannot keep up with all the technological changes happening daily in marketing, and #2 the consumer world has become hyper-fragmented which has forced smart marketers and small business owners to hyper target small niches and audiences to consume their products and services.
So, basically most people can’t keep up with all the changes in technology to just rely on some landing page to do the job because the strategy will change and you’ll find yourself left in the dust, and it’s tough to sell to a perceived mass market when in reality, today, we have to hyper target because consumer attention span is fragmented and people are now very smart in what they want from us, so give them what they want not what you think they want. This begins by asking them. Simple as that.
My point? By sticking to the basics of first identifying what the market or audience wants and needs first, then crafting the message we want to convey to the correct audience in a way that they’ll receive it, and then selecting the media or format we want to use to convey the solution, we will be triumphant in our efforts.
5 essential steps to follow anytime you want to scale your business online.