A product launch: Making it relevant?

I attended the launch of a new smartphone application on Weds evening (20th June), an app that claims to put every retail establishment in Warwick on the map. For a relatively small subscription, well small in my view, it is possible then to substantially improve ‘your’ listing to include a sales page, links to websites, post offers etc During the meeting, there was an an observer there was an interesting dynamic.

When the app was introduced and demonstrated the vibe was generally positive, the audience listened intently and seemed broadly supportive of the initiative. There were a few constructive comments how usability might be improved, a tweak here, a modification there. Then came the thorny part, the conversation turned to how the retailers turned their ‘pin’ from grey to purple… the answer was an annual subscription, which with VAT totalled a little over £60 for the year. At which point the dynamic of the room changed, the tension started to build. Some of the points were still constructive, such as the app should be more than a guide to retail outlets, that it should signpost attractions and sites of interest for example. However, there was also an undercurrent of resistance to the fact that the developers were looking to get some revenue from the work it had put into developing this product.

Make it relevant, benefits not features, sell the sizzle not the sausage

On reflection, thinking about the presentation I would say there were a few fundamental things that were missing that would have perhaps made the proposal much more attractive. There is a common sales analogy of “you sell the sizzle, not the sausage”, unfortunately in this presentation it very much about the ‘sausage’

  • It was highly function biased; that being it was about what it did, how it worked rather than majoring on what benefits it would provide to the retailers. The retailers as subscribers are the basis of the business model for revenue generation
  • There was no information on how the app would be made attractive to the consumers who would be visiting the town or expected download numbers; without the consumer, whose purchases the retailers were seeking, the app would not make the subscription attractive
  • Although verbally there was reference made to other advertising channels, there was no comparison given of the cost effectiveness or other benefits of subscribing to the app versus competing marketing and publicity channels

When pulling together your pitch or presentation, remember people are generally only interested in the WIIFM factor; what they stand to gain from it. All the product features may be fantastic, state of the art, first to market but if the prospect cannot see the relevance to them, they do not see the benefit, it is highly unlikely that you’ll get the business. Therefore, think about who your prospect is, what their problem or need  is and how your product/service can solve that for them… major on the benefits not features.