Forecasting Follies
Sometimes you just get it right

The "aha" Factor

Marketing talks about product postioning SWOT analysis and the like.   I've boiled down any company's new product / service to just three questions:
- So what?
- Who cares?
- What's the "aha"?

The first two are quite self-evident.  You need to know who is your market and the benefit to them (without a lot of adjectives).   Slap your hands if you ever use words like "only", "true", "leader".  It's like talking to someone who makes a point of telling you how ethical they are.  When I hear that I grab my wallet and walk quickly the other way.

The "aha" factor is the most important and most difficult concept to develop.  It's the handle on the suitcase of your product which customers, analysts and the press can quickly grab and understand.  It's the concept when uttered evokes the response "I get it".   Let me give you an example.

Back in my days at Zenith Data Systems we developed the concept of a network server which was much simpler to install and operate than any other server in the marketplace (and it cost 1/3 less).   People were used to hiring people with lots of facial hair to spend hours upon hours tinkering with their new computer equipment and getting it to work.   So we coined the phrase "network appliance".  Then we said "It's an appliance.  You plug it in and it works.  The user interface is the on / off  switch".   Everyone got the concept right away.  Didn't believe it until they tried it, but it delivered what it said.  That turned out to be the core of the product and the entire development team got behind it and delivered.

And yes, we became the leader of network appliances because we had the only true product.  But we never said it.  Sold 10,000 units the first 9 months and won product of the year in 5 countries. 

So always strive for the "aha" factor even during the development phase.   It's elusive, it'll keep you up at night, but strive to describe the core essence of what you are doing.  And please keep it simple and don't use many adjectives.  Or you could use Doc's BuzzPhraser.


Mary Schmidt

Bruce, I think you and I may have been separated at birth. I give my techy clients the "so what" test on a regular basis. Usually by the time I say "So what" by the second or third time, they lapse into silence. And, a "patent isn't a product." Uh-oh.

Like minds and all that...

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