It Just Works

Marketing Jan 30, 2020

Best-selling products have one thing in common. They just work. No caveats, no detailed specs, no manuals, no-nonsense. People can understand the value instantly. It's that simple.

Worst-selling products also have one thing in common. Somehow they require so many things to get themselves work. Worst-selling products try to tell customers that it works, instead of showing them. They list all sorts of different jargon and unproven benefits. The best. The fastest. The cheapest. The most efficient. The make-believe B.S.

Does anyone know how Apple's Airpods really work? Or why it works for that matter?

Apple doesn't tell you how or why their product is the best. Instead, they show it to you. They tell you a story – that the magic happens when you pull out two earbuds from the socket and plug them in your ears. It just works.

Apple doesn't care whether you understand Airpods are better than the alternatives because it's cordless, or because it can switch between platforms easily. Instead, they show it to you. They pitch the story, not a presentation about the hows and whys.

Do customers get it, your product?

You may get it because you've built it. But customers don't, because they can't see it. It's because you didn't put yourself in their shoes. It's because you tried to explain from your perspective.

Here's a typical sales talk: Our product is the only offering that can do X.

So what? That doesn't mean anything to the customers. You have to put yourself in their perspective. To show that your product is worth their time and money, you need to think in their terms. What triggers them? What clicks them? That's where you start.

Figure out the "aha!" moment in your product. At which point, will customers be delighted? Where in your product, will they be able to imagine themselves joyfully using it? This usually can be done by talking to them and spending time with them.

Remember, what customers want to see is not descriptions of your product's potential. They want to be inspired. Excited. So give them that.

Textbook marketing instructs you to come up with a marketing strategy and a hefty plan to execute it. But I say that none of that is needed until you get this one thing right: can you show your product just works?

This is harder than it seems. Showing - storytelling in other words - requires you to think deeply about where to focus on and where to double down on your efforts. It forces you to stick with one or two features and cut out all of the rest. This also requires the product to be working, so it puts extra pressure on the development. Making your customers see that your product just works raises everyone's bar much higher.

But despite its difficulty, this is the best way to make people understand why you exist. So, focus on showing that your product just works. There is no need to explain why it works or how it works for that matter. All you have to do is show that it works.


Christopher Chae

Co-founder at Hyperinbox. Loves 🍕 and ☕️.

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