How Integral is Your Product?

Technology seems to become more integral in our lives every day. Because I’m in my 30s, I can easily remember a time before cell phones, and yet I still feel incomplete if I accidentally leave my iPhone at home, even if I’m just running a quick errand. And of course, I couldn’t even do my job without my computer, internet access, Google, and social media platforms (not to mention, of course, WordPress, which I’m posting this blog on).

So when you’re marketing your company’s technology, ask yourself… how integral are you? Can you make yourself more important in your customers’ lives? Can you make people believe that they really can’t get by without you, even if they’d never even thought about your product or service five years ago?

I’ll use Yelp as a good example of this. Back in the good old days before smart phones, when I traveled, I’d just go into a restaurant and hope for the best. Often this meant I ended up at whatever chain restaurant was nearest my hotel, because I knew what to expect there. But ever since Yelp came along, I’ll bring it up on my phone and look for someplace with 4-5 stars, then use the map option to get directions. It’s become an integral part of my travel experience, allowing me to try local cuisine with confidence that I won’t accidentally stumble into someplace with bad food.

In the grand scheme of things, finding someplace to eat while on vacation is not that big of a deal, but I’ve trained myself to believe that it’s integral to my enjoyment of a trip. In fact, using Yelp to find someplace awesome to eat or grab a cup of tea has become one of my favorite parts of traveling.

Fitness monitors are another good example of this. It used to be that only dedicated athletes had things like heart rate monitors or pedometers. Now it’s normal to have a FitBit or similar product that you wear all day every day, tracking every footstep you take at the office and every calorie you eat at lunch. If you accidentally forget it, you feel like you’ve cheated yourself of those footsteps. We’ve trained ourselves to believe that our monitors are integral to our health and fitness, as they allow us to track our metrics and make sure we’re making good progress.

If your product isn’t already integral to your customer base’s lives, how can you convince them that it is? How can you make using your product into a habit? Your job as a marketer is to show how your technology will make your customers happier, healthier, and more productive. However, they have to be lead gently into this belief. You can’t tell people that they need your product, but you can show them how amazing it is until they convince themselves that they need it.

To ensure that you are being integral, you may want to perform periodic market research. Through surveys, focus groups and user experience workshops, you can see how your customers are using your product – or how they wish they could use it. There’s no more valuable feedback than that which comes directly from your customers and others in your target market!

The great thing about making your product integral to peoples’ lives is that they quickly become brand ambassadors. Once they’re hooked on your technology, they start telling all of their friends how great it is. There’s no more powerful form of word-of-mouth marketing than someone saying “I can’t live without my…”

-AJ

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