Posts tagged Marketing
Concentric circles of customers: Focus on people who already share your worldviews

“Don’t try to market to everyone.” By now, this advice is obvious. We know we can’t appeal to everyone.

But what if you feel like your product really is for everyone? Where do you start?

One way to narrow down your focus is to think about your customers as concentric circles on a bullseye. In the center of the bullseye are your core customers. These are people who are die-hard fans, who completely “get it.” They are excited you exist.

Start by marketing to them, then expand outwards. This is especially valuable if you have limited resources and bandwidth. 

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How to market a product you wouldn't use

It’s easier to sell stuff you use yourself. That's why companies give employee discounts.

This way, the staff can genuinely say, “My favorite pasta is the carbonara, but if you’re in the mood for seafood, the scallops are magical.”

But if a product you have to market isn't for you, what should you do?

There will come a day when you won’t be in the exact same demographic and psychographic as your customers. Your job is to connect with them anyway.

Learning to get excited about what your customers get excited about will make you better at every part of your job.

So how do you do that?

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MarketingWes KaoMarketing, Empathy
How to upgrade your career with marketing strategies [YouTube]

I want to share a Facebook Live recording I did recently that might be relevant if you want to increase your personal credibility.

What we’ll cover:

  • Why it's a mistake to save your questions until the end of an interview

  • How to use marketing concepts (FOMO, turning bugs into features, social proof) to get people excited about your ideas

  • How to even out the power dynamic during an interview

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MarketingWes KaoMarketing
To drive growth, focus on increasing desire—not just decreasing friction

As a marketer, salesperson, UX designer, or product leader, part of your job is to reduce the friction involved if someone wants to buy something from you.

For example:

  • Make the button bigger

  • Use brighter colors

  • Write shorter copy

  • Put everything on the homepage above the fold

  • Add the call-to-action button everywhere on the website

  • Send reminder emails about the sale

  • Use monetary incentives, e.g. discounts, bundles, promotions, and reverse promotions ("The price goes up next month!”)

The underlying assumption is, “If I make this easier (or cheaper) for you, you’ll eventually want it.”

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MarketingWes KaoMarketing, Product
Activation energy and why it matters for product launches

If you mix diluted hydrochloric acid with carefully measured strips of magnesium, you’ll get hydrogen...

You need a certain amount of each chemical though. If you don’t, the reaction won’t happen. You’ll get silence.

Activation energy is a term I learned from my friend Yuki, a biochemist who grows meat from cell cultures in Petri dishes. It’s “the minimum quantity of energy needed in order to undergo a specified reaction.”

Many projects take a level of activation energy before you start to see feedback—negative or positive. Maybe you’re an inch away from seeing a result, maybe you are a mile away...

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MarketingWes KaoMarketing
People don't trust their own judgment

Why do people buy bestselling books?

Why are there laugh tracks in sitcoms?

Why are we suspicious of restaurants that are empty?

All of the above are examples of when we look around to see what people around us are doing…. To help us decide what we should do.

We feel pressure to fit in with our peers, to do the right thing that is expected of people like us. This means taking social cues from others, and using those social cues to give context to what we think is cool (or not).

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Don't tell me what you value. Show me your budget.

"Don't tell me what you value. Show me your budget, and I'll tell you what you value." - Vice President Joe Biden's dad

Most people like us agree on a lot of things. For example:

“Climate change is bad. We need to do something.”

“We care about company culture. It's important to help our employees level up so we can stay competitive.”

“Innovation is crucial. We want to be a market leader, and that means taking risks.”

But, interestingly, the minute you present a solution that will save the environment, improve culture, or prompt innovation... Everyone is suddenly nowhere to be found. It’s crickets and tumbleweed.

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MarketingWes KaoMarketing
Why the best technology doesn't always win [Future Tech podcast]

I meet so many smart, talented non-marketers who still believe their idea should sell itself. I'll break it to you now: no idea ever sells itself. You just don't see the leader behind-the-scenes working hard to make their idea seem to spread "organically."

The host of the Future Tech podcast, Richard Jacobs, interviewed me about why the best innovation doesn't always win. We discussed why technical leaders–scientists, engineers, researchers, innovators–need to embrace storytelling.

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When talking to customers is a waste of time

If you’re leading a product launch, at some point, you’ll want to talk to real customers. This is an important step and you should keep a pulse on what people want.

Here is where the problem comes in.

When you’re researching, it’s easy to schedule and execute a bunch of customer development interviews.

You pat yourself on the back and say, “I’m being iterative, putting myself out there, and testing my idea with customers!”

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