Questions for MSH: Phase 4 - Bringing it to life!!


Happy Monday MSH-ers!! Let's get rolling into Phase 4 of Making Sh*t Happen - Bringing the product to life!! (P.s. feel free to get caught up on our previous phases here).

Okay, so you've done a broad map of your product, time to get a little bit more refined before we start assembling things.  Y'know that theory of 'measure twice, cut once'? That's suuuuuuuuper important right now.  

WHO is the customer you're helping?  Do you have a specific target market that you're trying to reach?  And yes, you can have several target markets, but get specific for each of those separate markets. If you're designing a hoodie for marathon runners to wear when they're running in the fall, you may consider that they might also a) wear it out doing groceries or b) when they are out cycling.  That means you might need to a) select some fashionable colours (another target market) or b) some technical design elements (yet another target market).   
This is where the process can get dangerous!  Don't try to be all things to all people.  Now is the point where you select which markets you can tackle right now and which you might want to consider shelving for the time being, until you broaden your product line. That's how you can go from a product like the original (on the left) to a current version (on the right).

The original knife (left) provided to the Swiss Army (circa late 1890s) and a more 'modern' verion (right)

The original knife (left) provided to the Swiss Army (circa late 1890s) and a more 'modern' verion (right)

WHY do people need your product?  You know the answer to this.  This is why you are so AMPED about your dream.  However, again, you need FOCUS! You product can't be all things to all people, you need to focus on the customers you can help for the time being and centre all your efforts towards them.  To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln "You can please some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time, but you can't please all of the people all of the time."

HOW is your product special? Is it in the design? Is it the material? What is it that makes you think this is THE MOST FANTASTIC THING EVER!   Remember all that research we were talking about before? THIS is where it comes in handy.  At this point you should be a damn EXPERT in this industry/market, so use that expertise to devise messaging that you'll send to you future customers saying "My product, 'Product X', is the best one on the market! And here's why...."

WHERE does your customer want to get your product? One of the most often overlooked points, where is your customer interacting with you and buying your product?  Is it something that's made to measure? Can those measurements be communicated online? Do they need the touch and feel? Will you be carrying standing inventory or will they be made-to-order? One of the first rules when it comes to developing a digital marketing strategy is figure out what channels your customers are communicating on and use those, well it's the same thing with sales.  Determine where your customer shops and where they'll want to be shopping for your product and setup yourself up there.  Not thinking about this is like packing the car before you figure out where you're headed for vacation.

FINAL PRODUCT: READY TO DESIGN! Congratulations! You've done all your legwork and product research.  You are now ready to start moving into the design phase!! Don't lose focus just yet though, there are a number of incredibly important steps to come. But, remember when we talked about setting milestones?  Well you just reached a miletone so take a sec and go celebrate a little bit :) 

We're super close to the end of the process!! Hurrah!!  If you want give you a hand bringing your dream to life, sign up for our Hack-A-Thon on April 17th, 18th & 19th right here.