#003: Why Great Products Succeed?
Because people spontaneously tell others about it.
In this post, I will point out one of the most overlooked characteristics that all great products exhibit.
Often, when first-time founders and corporate innovators try to evaluate the future greatness of their yet-to-be-built product they focus on aspects like awesome features, addressed customer pain points, marketing, market share, inflated future growth-rates due to amazing opportunities when defining TAMs, SAMs, SOMs, pricing, stellar product teams, etc.
All of that might be part of a great product.
Yet, the key necessary and fundamental product trait can be formulated in one simple sentence such that even a 3-year old kid understands it.
Great products succeed because people spontaneously tell others about it.
This is truly the benchmark to succeed with a great product.
As simple as it sounds as insanely hard it is to achieve.
Yet, there is also some deep truth for marketing a product in that sentence: No company with a great product acquires every single customer through marketing expenses.
This might still be the case for companies selling enterprise software (even more so with legacy systems) who acquire customers by implementing top-down sales tactics.
But we all know how those products’ user experience typically turns out to be.
But think about the products depicted above which - by the way - are so insanely sticky that they turned into household names and large brands: none of these products you probably started to use because you saw an ad of it.
In fact, for many of these products you may not even have seen an ad ever.
You probably don’t even remember how you started to use them.
But most likely it was somebody in your network (private or professional) who recommended it to you.
So what requirements have to be fulfilled to build something awesome?
Necessary conditions to build a great product:
Great product development: that applies to the team and processes;
Great marketing features and positioning: How the product is marketed to the customer, e.g. through potential virality components and network effects (e.g. Instagram, Linkedin, Airbnb, Whatsapp) or how the product is positioned.
Clear differentiating factors: This is best perceived by the user if the time-to-value is almost instant (e.g. think about Uber compared to the traditional ride-hailing experience).
However, the above conditions are only necessary but not sufficient. It is very well possible that a product has all of the above but still tanks.
Think about a ride-hailing service for space.
Currently, there is just no customer base for such a product even tough you might have a stellar development team and positioning should also be easy regarding the fact that your product is unique in a unique (non-existent) market and thus, is also clearly differentiating.
So there is something else that you must achieve.
Sufficient condition to build a great product:
PEOPLE SPONTANEOUSLY TELL OTHERS ABOUT IT !
If you achieve this, you’ve hit the jackpot.
Most products will never reach this status.
Side note 1:
The examples shown above are perceived as consumer products to illustrate the case (but all of them actually are also B2B). In general, for B2B products the punch-line of this post is equally true.
Side note 2:
Don’t get me wrong: It is also possible for products to succeed which are not great and there are many examples out there to prove that. But that’s a different topic.
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