One essential ingredient for true word of mouth

Many times when I talk to people about my love for marketing they say, “Oh, advertising is important” or “I wish I was good at sales.”

Advertising and sales are only part of marketing (and if you wait for these post launch activities, you’ve failed).

The best way to get true word of mouth is to infuse value into your product – before the launch. In other words, bake the marketing goodness right inside your product and not wait to slather on ads or sales pitches after-the-fact.

How do you bake the marketing right inside your product? There are many ways, but don’t forget one often overlooked, but essential ingredient: product usability.

Usability
Make the product simple to understand, use and spread. Take a look at this example:

The left is a Tivo remote and the right is a Pioneer remote [Note to engineers – buttons don’t have to be the same size, color or shape. Give unequal weight to what is used most often as well as how it is used].

Now, your product may not have buttons but it most likely will have some points of friction that should be removed or greatly de-emphasized. Complexity corrodes the user experience (and certainly word of mouth).

The problem is that feature creep is too easy. It takes careful planning and foresight to make something simple (and I’m not talking about dumbing it down either). You may have to spend just as much time (or more) deleting the “good, but non-essential” as you spend on developing the concept in the first place.

I leave you with the words of Blaise Pascal, a 17th century philosopher: “I have made this letter longer than usual, only because I have not had time to make it shorter.”

Take the time.

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3 Responses

  1. You should have paired the TiVo remote with Comcast’s DVR remote. It’s more bloated with buttons and functions than anything Microsoft ever created! 🙂

  2. Darrin,

    You’re right! Thanks for stopping by.

    Bill

  3. This is very up-to-date information. I’ll share it on Facebook.

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