Tidewe boots: A lot of people just don’t know what they want. What they want is not necessarily a product. What they want is a way to make their working lives simpler, more pleasant and more productive.
Until we have answered that question, we have no idea how to persuade people to buy our product. We don’t even know what the product is! We just know that it must do something useful and cool, which means it must do something useful and cool. That leaves us with the task of creating an experience which will convince consumers that this “product” can be useful, useful and cool.
Those are the first three steps in marketing: understanding what people think they want and then translating their wants into terms that work for them (i.e., user-friendly). Once we have done that, we get to the fourth step: communicating those wants in ways that actually make sense to consumers (i.e., voice).
The secret of communication lies in asking questions (see below)
2. The Writing Process
The writing process can be a very lonely one. You can work on the product alone, but it’s more productive to have an audience of people who are interested in what you are doing, and are excited about your product. Even if it’s just you and a partner, it helps to have that extra person who is willing to listen to what you are saying (it’s also good if they know how to make espresso too).
You should also consider working with others in the company if you can: maybe they could add value by pointing out the things which make your product unique or exciting, or they could help you figure out what kind of user experience makes your product stand out from all the competitors.
This is especially important for early-stage companies, as most of them will have very little time for writing. Just imagine how much time was wasted trying to get a sentence or two in!
3. Creative Writing Exercises
Creative writing is an art form that has been around for centuries (it comes from the Latin word “creatus”) and is a great way of exploring ideas and making new connections. It also helps you to process a lot of your thoughts and feelings. If you do the exercises here, you will be able to come up with some really interesting things about yourself, others, and life in general.
You can do these exercises without reading a single word; just write them down in your notebook or on your phone. Some examples:
• Write down what you’re thinking when you think about X (could be positive or negative), Y (could be positive or negative), Z (positive), AM/PM (good morning/afternoon/night), WHOLE THING (the whole world, not just me)
• Write down at least two things you’re afraid of right now (could be anything; this could be dangerous, or even thought-provoking)
• Write down an idea that someone said but didn’t mean it the way they said it, or something that made you laugh and made you feel good afterward
• Write down whether today is a good day or not. Is it? Is it bad? What’s happening? Are all my plans going to work out? Am I going to meet people today that I’m supposed to meet? What’s going on with my project schedule? Am I being too hard on myself right now?
The goal of this exercise is to build your vocabulary, let go of what’s familiar, explore your personality more deeply through writing about different aspects of everyday life for twenty minutes each day, and sharpen your observation skills in order to make more informed decisions about the world around us. Could we be seeing the end of capitalism as we know it?, could we be heading towards some other kind of society where people don’t need money to survive but trade skills instead?, are there any strong parallels between sci-fi and indie game development?, etc. There are many variations on this theme out there so just stick with whatever suits you best. And remember: writing is free! If nothing else, this exercise will help keep your brain active and clear up any clutter in your head.
4. Developing a Story in 5 Easy Steps
Stories are like rainbows. They are beautiful and mysterious, and yet, you can’t look at them on a sunny day. You have to keep looking.
In this post I want to focus on the ingredients that make a story ‘stick’, so that you can use those ingredients to help you weave a magic story around your product.
The biggest challenge in crafting a story is that there is no formula — everything depends on your experience with the market, how well you understand the value of your product, how creative you are and what else is going on in the world around you. As such, it is important to remember that storytelling has not been invented: it has always been an ancient art form where different masters have come up with different ways of doing it. The best stories tend to be universal — they take us through life and into its depths as we learn more about ourselves and our place in the world.
To create yours, start by thinking about one significant moment in your life that was valuable enough for you to share it with others (remembering the five lessons first). What happened there? What did people say about it? Do they still talk about it today? How do people react when they hear about this moment? This will help get some more ideas flowing into your head as well as inspire some great ones from others who may have had similar experiences themselves.
Beyond these questions, think about something that happened in this moment – some event that happened at the same time but which has little or nothing to do with your product or business right now. You might even consider asking someone else how they feel when they hear or see something like this: “I was sitting behind my desk one day when I heard a knock on my front door (or maybe their front door). It was my ex-wife dropping off her son alone at his new school — he went back home after class because he had homework and she wanted him to go out for ice cream later. He walked past me without noticing me but when he turned back toward me and saw me standing there he just gave me a big smile and said ‘Hello dear…’”
You may already have an idea for another metaphor for this – such as: “I developed a software application for an app store just before launch day” or “I developed an app just before launch day because I knew I could sell ski trips during an event” or even something more specific
5. Marketing Strategy Development
The above, I have written about often enough. The main reason to have a marketing strategy is to make sure that your product is well-positioned when it launches and that the way it’s marketed reflects the brand. In other words, there are three primary objectives to a marketing strategy:
• Make sure you are in a position to get your product into people’s hands as soon as possible (this is why most companies launch slow and often)
• Keep track of how your marketing actually works and how it can be improved
• Identify gaps in the market for your product (which can be fixed by adding new features or re-branding products)
It seems that many startups launch with no marketing strategy at all (but these days, even those who do tend to move on from their naïve starting point). This is not ok and you should consider having one at some point in the process.
So, that’s it for this post. To summaries, please see the previous posts for more details. If you have any questions, do let me know in the comments.