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What Good Is Your Product If Your Users Can’t Figure Out How to Use It? July 11, 2011

Posted by christinapappas in Uncategorized.
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So I am finally getting around to talking about cocktails 🙂 but couldn’t help myself with this one. Hope you enjoy!

I came across this new whipped cream flavored vodka in my friend’s liquor cabinet the other day as we were mixing up some drinks for the poolside and was intrigued. I mean it was whipped cream flavored vodka! YUMO! So I asked ‘what can we mix this with?’ and she didn’t know. She said she bought it for the very same reason I wanted to try it so bad but we both couldn’t come up with anything to mix it with.

Over the rocks? Blech! Not so good.

Chocolate milk? Not bad but doesn’t last very long at the pool on a hot day.

Cranberry juice? Ugh! Why didn’t we even attempt this?

Orange Hawaiian punch? Now we are getting somewhere but still room for improvement.

So then we started brainstorming about what drinks would come with a whipped cream topping. Aha the daiquiri. But still nothing too inspiring to make a drink with vodka that delivers the essence of whipped cream. Is there such a thing as strawberry juice? Maybe that would work.

Is ‘edgy’ really the best way to go?

I was reading a post this past week on the 3 Hats Communication blog about making your product ‘dirty’  and emphasized the importance of not just serving up a unique product to the market but to give something edgy and funky and creative.

But what if the product is so creative and ‘dirty’ that your users can’t even figure out how to use it or what to do with it?

It’s very difficult to succeed in the long term if you are creating things that are so off the wall that people don’t know what to do with them. The fact that’s its new and different is enough to get sales but don’t we strive for repeat, loyal consumers to keep coming back for more?

Why are we creating things people can’t actually use?

Brands and companies are creating ‘innovative’ products and services all the time. Some we buy into and use and they help us do things faster, better, easier but sometimes they just give us a headache. The same is true about your content. Your headline is the bait, its the whipped cream flavor enticing readers to click and from there, you need to provide some direction so they don’t leave confused and disappointed. Always use headlines and accentuate specific points you are trying to make. Add visual support to your content. And always make it easy and fast for them to do the next step (subscribe, comment, download something, whatever). 

Step back and look at things from the outside in. Stop becoming so obsessed with your awesome idea and start thinking about what the market will actually do with it. Conduct usability studies, poll customers, track engagement and performance. Just take yourself out of it for a minute.

Have you ever come across a product you bought because it was so different and then you realized you didn’t really know how to use it or what to do with it?

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Comments»

1. Davina K. Brewer - July 11, 2011

Thanks Christina. Good point about creating something and not outthinking your customer with your marketing, how they’d actually use your products, services. I’ve seen ads and thought, “WTH were they marketing there, I barely caught a glimpse of a brand or logo?” Now I immediately think of the iPad which didn’t hit a ‘need’ or ‘niche’ in the market, instead it defined, created one. That’s of course the exception, knowing how consumers will figure out how to use it and find a place for it. Trying to think of a few things… sure there are things I’ve bought and ended up not really using, but can’t place them (probably ended up returning or giving away). In terms of content, I gotta agree with you that the ‘bait and switch’ headline annoys me so much; I try for interesting, on point, a decent lead for my posts and hope I don’t mislead anyone as to what the posts are really about. FWIW.

christinapappas - July 17, 2011

Hi Davina,

Yes the iPad did define the need instead of resolving it – good point! And we may have had a WTH moment when we first saw it had it not been Apple’s stamp on the back 😉 I don’t want to ever stop being innovative and pushing the envelope but sometimes we have to consider how the rest of the world will take it. Some inventions are just best left at home and some content is best left unpublished.

2. Terracina Rosenberg - July 19, 2011

The initial purchase is not as important as the reordering of product. People will buy stuff out of curiosity or for a laugh but; it the product performs well, potential users will want it – especially if someone they know is endorsing it.
BTW, bet this would taste good on an Irish Coffee 😉

christinapappas - July 19, 2011

Hi Terracina,

Completely agree with you! Who wouldn’t want to try whipped cream flavored vodka or click on that catchy headline? But what happens next is the most important part. And even more important is that the person has a good experience and comes back for more. Irish Coffee is a good idea! Will tell my friend in case she has any left (which I am sure its still on her shelf mostly unused).

3. Brenda Bauer - July 29, 2011

Lemon Drop Martinis are great when made with Vanilla Vodka or Whipped Cream Vodka (instead of regular vodka)
…aka the Lemon Creme Pie Martini

Recipe for Lemon Drop Martini:

http://johnniemartini.com/lemon_drop_martini.html

Enjoy!


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