As a CEO we are pretty sure that you already have experienced the fear that you are currently investing your hard thousand – earned savings and spend all your time and energy in an idea that could simply fade away as quickly as it appeared.
If you are more than 30 y-o, you probably remember Tamagotchis or Myspace? Who still uses it in 2020? If you are under 30 maybe you have heard about Pokemon Go?
All those products are based on fads.
They have a very short adoption life-cycle. Products like this tend to stay among early adopters, people who enjoy trying new things and quickly move to the next possible big thing. Because they are here to create a new desire among a certain type of people and do not respond to any real need.
And for sure, we do not want your product to follow the same path, so now, it’s time to verify if you are following a trend or a fad in 3 powerful steps!
Step 1: go back to Maslow’s pyramid!
- Years ago, Maslow categorized human’s needs in 8 categories, the first 4 levels are:
- Biological and physiological needs,
- Safety needs,
- Love and belongingness needs,
- And last, esteem needs.
All of the above are related to deficiency needs. Basically, if your product is an answer to one or some of this stage, that means you can avoid a lack of something crucial.
Then, he adds 4 more levels :
- Cognitive needs,
- Self- actualization,
- Aesthetic needs,
- And Transcendence needs
Those last four are linked with people's growth. So, if you think that your product fits with those ones, you are most likely creating momentary habits.
Unlike useless games or social media, if your product triggers a real human need, this is a good start to build a product that might last.
Step 2: Define your life cycle: short term vs long term.
Whenever we are witnessing a fizzle about a product, there are questions we should be asking before taking any further commitment.
– Will you be agile enough to survive if you became a fad earlier that you anticipate
– Will you want to give up your company or pivot
– Will you be able to pivot or create new revenue streams or even totally new offers if yours becomes irrelevant?
No need to make the decision today, but be aware that you will at some point be challenged by new offers on the market, new trends or more exactly new fads that could outdate your offer.
What you can do right now is evaluate how important your business is in people’s lives, and how painful could it be if your user could lose you…How? Ask some of your clients (if you already have some that are not your relatives) what their reactions would be if your product suddenly disappeared! The best KPI (Key Performance Indicator) is to evaluate constantly, how dependent your clients are from your product.
Step 3: know your customer and your segment
1.Think about your long term persona
You probably already have one or two personas and you know everything about them. Good job. (If you don’t know the persona technique, check this podcast).
But this is only a very first step because Veronique and Paul are probably changing their habits all along with their lives. And your aim is to retain them, isn't it?
So basically, you need to understand their expectations in 5, 10 and 30 years according to their culture, background, relatives. Maybe they were first students, then got married and a few years later became parents…, If you have kids you might understand what we are talking about 🙂
You can do the exercise right now.
Take a sheet of paper and imagine them in the future using the following methodologies:
2. Use the empathy map
If you want to be sure that you will have a deep impact on what your customers say, what they feel, what they do, you should use this great tool.
Visualizing user attitudes and behaviors 3 or 5 years from now is key to helping you to have a deep understanding of them. This is the best way to last for a long time in their daily life.
You can also add some gamification in order to push them to use it during at least 21 days if you want to change their habits and 90 days if you want to have a long term impact on their lifestyle.
3. Never give up market researches
One of the main mistakes made by entrepreneurs is to focus on the market research only in the very beginning. But indeed, you absolutely need to stay very close to the strong but also weak signals.
Keep in mind that most of the time, what is too obvious is not deep enough!
Your role, as a founder, is to set up a watchlist, cross and analyze articles, databases, forums…
Do not forget to benchmark all your competitors, direct and indirect and see how they evolve or pivot when some deep society change (paradigms) happens.
This is everyday work and we advise you to spend 1 hour every day dedicated to this task.
Medium is also a good source of inspiration!
Trends are meant to evolve through the years and the ability to pivot is, once again, one of the keys to surviving!
4. Tell a good story and do not reinvent the wheel!
Your product is worth nothing without impactful packaging.
You can have the most valuable product which responds to the main primary needs if you fail into creating a good story that hooks people's attention and emotion, it’s not going to stick in their mind.
Sharing the right message with a good tone with something they already know will help them understand your product value and make them feel reassured and endorsed.
To do it effectively, use a comparison to describe your positioning, especially if you are building a disruptive offer.
For example, your app can be described as the Uber of private lessons! Uber is a model that already has been proven and people are familiar with…
It’s easy to reach the mainstream market, at some point, not only a specific niche of early adopters if you are understandable enough to make people Know, Like & Trust you. (KLT principle)
Easy, isn't it?
Build products according to trends BUT using the fads!
To help you differentiate trends and fads and better position yours, Gartner publishes several Hype Cycle graphics including a wide range of technologies and innovation. We can use their reports to monitor in which phase your product is and to make more consistent decisions about your investments.
While positioning your product on a good trend is mandatory, you should always identify and use fads as leverage for your growth. Fads can create huge fans, and if there is a long term product behind, it will make your customers fall in love with you.
To give you an example of a fad we use at MyCTO friend, since 2019, we are used to sending video messages to our clients. People are often amazed by this format, but we also know that in 5 years, it will be a common way to communicate as it’s much more effective than written messages.
Try to apply it to your own project, when developing your product, leave enough space for customers’ inputs, customization and use original tactics to improve your customers' experiences.
Now, it’s time to write your own long term vision!
At this point, we gave you several tools to help you figure out if your offer will follow a fad or not. But this is above all like playing chess and anticipating what you will be able to do in the upcoming situation.
Most CEOs fail because they do not come out of the water for many reasons and do not have a real roadmap with a strategy for every possible contingency in mind.
And we do not want you to follow the same path!
If you are interested in going deeper into this subject and see how you can apply it to your business, we can help you! With MyCTOfriend, you will never be alone anymore!