January 2013

It sounds so remedial, but few innovators, start-ups or technical types take the time to write down the answers to these essential four marketing questions.

  • Who is the product for?   (best target user groups and associated demographics)
  • What is the product used for?   (primary or best applications, and those applications not best for)
  • What are the product’s key features or benefits?   (rank ordered in user importance)
  • How is the product different?   (versus competition or current methods)

Before you get too far down the development road, the best possible advice I can provide is to grab a notebook and write down your first gut instinct answers to these questions.  Then sit on them for a few days and let a trusted colleague pick them apart and iterate.  Lastly, migrate the answers into a clear product (or service) positioning statement without too many words. If you are lucky, this new statement can be shortened into a business tagline.

The time it takes to write these questions & answers down, and post visibly, will save you immense pain later in your business dealings when others try to redirect the brand meaning, distribution strategy, and/or product/service design. These answers will serve as good decision guideposts as your concepts and plans unfold.

It’s only four questions. You likely have this swirling around in your mind, but write it down! Good luck.