If you're a software engineer, there's a good chance you define the product as the code you write. But if you've spent time on this blog, you'll know that I define it differently.
At the core, I define products as the benefit a customer derives from something I offer. Sometimes it's a feature. Sometimes it's a result. Sometimes it's insurance (as in the protection from something otherwise happening).
You might wonder about that definition because it's not how you think about it, but ponder the reality of buying car insurance. You don't get anything except a potential benefit. And that's still a product you pay for (yearly, or even monthly).
Moving beyond benefits
When you think about the idea of car insurance, you already know the difference between the product you purchase (which is a potential benefit, if needed) and the experience you have.
The experience is all the interactions you have when buying the product. What's amazing is that most of us evaluate the product we buy (when it comes to car insurance) based on the experience we have – long before needing the insurance.
That experience is something most software developers don't spend a lot of time thinking about – not because they're careless, but because often we're all busy coding and delivering the product. Unfortunately, it means that the talents of developers are more often spent adding a new feature rather than tweaking and working on the experience surrounding the products they purchase.
Two developers I know in the WordPress ecosystem are different:
- Pippin Williamson not only sells Easy Digital Downloads, but does A/B testing to focus on what works better for people as they are making purchases.
- Thomas Griffin has chronicled his work around Soliloquy (best slider for WordPress), which also led to changes in how he has worked out the purchasing process for Envira (best gallery plugin for WordPress).
I know a few others who are starting to look at Optimizely, so that they can tweak the overall experience that people have, as they buy products.
Past product benefits and user experience
Most of the time, when I talk with folks about their products, the conversation ends there. We look at the deep benefits delivered and it changes their messaging. We look at the user experience (of the purchase and of the product itself), and it changes how they code things.
I bet the same would happen if we talked about your product. But I want to challenge you to go further.
Because beyond the core benefits and the experience people have, is how you deliver your product. And in that delivery, there is tons of opportunities to
- pleasantly surprise your prospects
- stand apart from your competitors
- develop trust with your customers
If you look at the image above, you'll notice all the different product dimensions that exist when we're talking about delivery. Don't get me wrong, I'm not talking about product delivery as in sending people the download link. I'm talking about the details of how the engagement moves forward after the sale.
Most people ignore these product dimensions
But you're not most people, are you? So you know better. And if I'm right, you've looked at a few of these. But have you looked at them all. And what others have I missed?
Once you start paying attention to all your product dimensions, you'll discover tons of ways to differentiate yourself while delighting people – and that will naturally develop trust and drive repeat sales or stronger word-of-mouth recommendations.
So I'll leave you with the challenge to look at your product in a new way. Push past the idea of looking at just the code. And (as always) if you ever want to talk about your product, you can schedule time with me via my Clarity profile.