Another thing in life is theory and practicality. This is the 1st post and it deals mostly with the theory behind productization. The following posts will be on the practical side, describing ways for you to put your productization capabilities to work.
These practices will include ways for you to gather everything into a product (or product plan) and how to pitch it.
During my career as a trainer and instructional designer, I have noticed a repeating pattern: everything I do in training solves a different problem. How I design my materials – solves any learning issues that different people have; the order in which I choose to deliver the materials – creates (solves) a conceptual understanding of something; how I choose to speak and move in the class – solves any interruptions, removes bias opinions about me and whether or not I should be listened to, and to take it a step further – allows me to better evaluate whether the objectives of the course are being met and avoid any un-pleasantries with my boss.
It’s a long way of saying that ever since we evolved into homosapiens, we are looking at things as problem <> solution, and this shapes our way of thinking and as a direct result – acting.
When I became an entrepreneur and co-founded my first startup, quickly came the time to pitch to beta customers. Now I read several books on sales, and one in particular caught my attention (the sales bible), as it treated sales techniques as techniques that can (and should) be used in daily scenarios. As mundane as winning an argument with your partner, or intricate as meeting with the bank for a mortgage offering, we sell every day. In the book, it said all the right things: sell benefits – not the product (functions), adapt to your audience needs and pains, make them sell to you, be humble, listen, etc., etc. but I think it should go a step further.
If you’re starting a venture, a business, a self-re-branding process, or just arguing with your friends, here are 4 characteristics of Productization that I believe entrepreneurs should be aware of:
We are all problems and solutions people. We need to go to the bathroom – we solve it by going to the bathroom. We can’t configure our wireless router – we google it or call a techy friend. We got into an argument with the Ms. – We drill down our long term memory to find proof that we are right or have changed.
Almost every scenario we encounter has a cause and an effect. I agree that calling it a problem is a bit of an overkill, but for the sake of this post – let’s. So if everything we do falls into the array of problems <> solutions, we can predict some of it and design a clever solution for it. For example, I know I’m good with people, maybe I can offer it to a company who’s seeking a PR person, because if I know I’m good at it, I can translate how well I know how to talk to people into more appealing PR messages and shape peoples’ perception of the company.
Every problem has a solution, but think of complicated solutions, not ones as simple as going to the bathroom. The solution your product (you can be the product) will offer needs to actually solve something. If it does other things along the way that’s awesome (maybe you can sell those), but it has to have a primary solution. Just as you would tone down your voice when you feel a heated discussion is about to burst – this is a solution, there are tons more. In order to really solve something you have to experience it, assumptions have nothing to do here. And also, when you realize what it is you solve, you can start designing ways you will deliver that message to another person, connecting him to the experience (if he hasn’t already experienced it himself)
Most solutions in the world don’t suit everyone. Even cars are not the right solution for everyone. Not everything has a market. But if there’s no market why bother? If you know that forgetting to take out the trash won’t make your wife angry – why bother? In other words, who is your audience? For 99.7% of the problems out there – there are solutions. In business (or career), we will not go into solving a problem if there is no market. This might be the reason why a certain person chooses this major and not the other one, that’s ok, but realize that your solution must have a market or audience (or demand), otherwise, why bother?
4. The Enlightenment
Remember that feeling when you’ve figured out a way to solve something? PR2 – Pause, Record, and Re-visit. Something about that moment is the thing to share and focus on. Let’s go back to the router problem we discussed before, remember that feeling you get when you see the ‘connection to internet successful’ message? There it is! Your product must have some enlightenment moment you yourself felt, that’s the moment to share. Share your product added values to customer/potential employer, your friends, your investors across your brand messages.
Productization is a method a lot of marketers use. It makes sense, because as much as we are a complicated species, one of our original and very basic instincts is problem solving.
There’s no second chance for a first impression – enlighten your audience the first time.
In my course Fine-Tune Your Startup Pitch, I showcase all that I’ve learned about the worlds of startups, fundraising, training, pitching, public speaking and sales, and combine it with Productization. It’s not a right or wrong situation, it’s a discussion.
In the 2nd post of this series, we will talk about ways to communicate the solution that your product provides.
About the Author:
Roy Tertman – Another case of a dreamer, not knowing when to say when. Loves to change people’s perception of products and services, lives in Tel Aviv, buys anything with a Star Wars logo, skates when he can.