AIDA #2: The wrong focus.
This is the second issue of my bi-weekly product marketing newsletter. Sign up then scroll down to read on.
Focus is possibly the most misinterpreted word in business.
Focus can mean activity — putting an above-average amount of effort and time into a project.
The second interpretation — the one I believe is often intended but misread — is clarity.
Think back to a recent request for focus on a project.
Were you asked to spend a lot of time and effort on a task? Or could you have been asked to get to a certain level of clarity and understanding instead?
As usual, in this roundup you’ll find links across product marketing and growth, sales, innovation, and startups.
Product Marketing & Growth
“Companies don’t die from hunger. They die from indigestion. You need to have ruthless prioritization.”
- Alex Bard, CEO of Campaign Monitor
A short post, but the quote above particularly stands out. We know that a broad spray’n’pray, built it and they will come approach no longer works. It’s more important than ever for teams to focus on a problem, a segment, and a solution.
Looking at all the things founders and early startup employees need to be thinking about can be overwhelming. Where do you start?
Pete Kazanjy’s guide to ‘founder sales’ reduces everything you should focus on — gain clarity — into five points.
- Customer Development: What are we solving? How?
- Existence Proof of Value Creation: Does it actually work?
- Existence Proof of Value Exchange: Will someone pay?
- Small Scale Repeated Value Exchange: Will many people pay?
- Beginning Value Exchange Specialization & Abstraction: Can non-founders sell this?
From a product development point of view, it’s easy to chase all the features your customers (or your founders) ask for — but warning, you’ll be left with a muddy ‘feature factory’ built for everybody but appeals to nobody.
Each phase in the product’s maturity requires a different balance of features from each of these buckets in order to be successful.
As a product develops, it requires a shift from vision-focused strategic features to building capabilities that power acquisition, growth, and retention too.
This article posits there are three viable models for SaaS sales today: low-price low-complexity self-service, high-price low-complexity transactional, or high-price highly-complex enterprise.
The startup graveyard, where highly-complex but low-priced solutions fumble, is to be feared.
You just can’t give away complex software. Only customers that are willing to pay an exorbitant price for your hugely valuable service will also pay exorbitant amounts of time, fear and frustration to wade through the complexity of getting it.
Luckily, there are adjustments you can make to avoid the startup graveyard… but each requires focus — clarity — and conviction.
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