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No-one needs your product

This is often a tough pill to swallow, particularly for product people. Having put hours, days, weeks and/or months into an idea which you believe in with every fibre of your being, only to realise that no-one actually needs it. That’s rough.

Of course, this applies to new ideas, as well as re-inventions and improvements of existing ideas. Any new idea is usually either a better way of achieving an existing result, or a way of achieving the same existing result, using slightly different tools, or a slightly different process.

Ask yourself this; Do you really need that new smartphone? Is it not the same as your current smartphone, except with slight improvements and perhaps a slightly different way of doing something?

You don’t need it. You want it.

Want versus need

Often, we mistake the feeling of “want” for the feeling of “need”. This happens to us all day, every day. An example would be if you’re watching your favourite television show, and you suddenly get a craving for a burger, or that last piece of chocolate cake in the fridge. Your mind is telling you that you “need” it when, in fact, all you’re doing is wanting it. If your tummy isn’t gurgling, guess what, you’re not hungry.

Creating the “want”

Creating feelings of “want” are what drive the perception of “need”. If one accepts that no-one needs your product, the only area you have left is the “want”. The desire. The “I must own this”.

When creating the “want”, it’s often a good idea to start with the “why”. The consumer doesn’t need your new smartphone in order to make calls, nor do they want it for that feature. They may “want” your smartphone because of the ideals your business projects, the image you send out to the consumer (perhaps your brand is hip and “with it”) and the feeling they have with your latest smartphone in their possession.

Wading through flooded markets

It’s no secret that wading through the noise of flooded markets isn’t an easy task. Becoming the one shining beacon of signal, amongst the noise, is a task reserved for true superheroes.

In the WordPress space, which is somewhat crowded, it’s especially difficult to wade through the noise. Anyone can build any product and launch it (for free or paid-for) and start up a business.

In the WooThemes mailbag, I receive and process several new ideas every day, from eager developers who have built something new. Every idea is “the next best thing”.

Often, the developer has not taken into account the experience the customer will have with their product, and has focussed purely on the function the product is to perform. A little bit of polish on the experience is what sets the average WordPress product apart from the rest.

What humans look for in products

Folks don’t “need” to use Product A or Product B, which both, for example, calculate tax rates in Indonesia. All they want to do is calculate the tax rates, so they’ll go with whichever product feels best to them, rather than whichever product calculates the tax rates quickest.

This is often a trait of the human psyche. “This feels good, so I’ll stick with this”, or, “This looks good, so I’ll stick with this”, rather than “This performs the task the best, so I’ll stick with this”.

Executive summary

What your product provides in functionality and performance, it should provide for in user experience and everything else surrounding the product.

Ignore the idea that customers need your specific product, because they don’t. If your product doesn’t feel right to the customer, they’ll move to your competitor.

Make your customers want to use your product. Make the steps easy and the customer experience rich, niche and finely tuned.

Create a “want” where there used to be a “need”.

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