Underrated Series – Part 3

Welcome to the latest edition of our new weekly blog series, The Underrated Series. Each week, we will highlight an important, often underrated component of marketing success.

Last week’s underrated topic was easy to use forms.

What are we underrating this week? Product design.

I don’t claim to be a design expert. Nor am I able to measure the exact business impact of strong product design vs. weak.

But what I do know – and what the point of this post is – is that product design must be, at least partially, a marketing function.

Steve Jobs knew this. The user interface teams behind some of today’s most popular apps know this.

The way something looks matters. It impacts how you are perceived by consumers. It impacts how users interact with your product. It can mean the difference between “oh my god, this is amazing”, and “oh okay, I get it”.

Take advantage of every chance to wow your customers. And product design, the way it looks and feels, is a big opportunity to do just that. So stop ignoring it.

Have something you think deserves more attention? Send us your suggestions for the Underrated Series using the comments below or submit them here.

Aiming for Perfection vs. Showing up First

There is a fine line between waiting to get something perfect before you release it/launch it/announce it/sell it/market it, and releasing something as soon as its ready in order to get there first/get there sooner/start making money. As far as I can tell from my own experience, a person is either on one side of the fence or the other in every single situation where this argument might come up. It most likely depends more on your own personality than the business decision at hand.

Here is the situation. You or your company is working on a new product, or website, or anything that will be released to the public. You can either work on it, test it, have meetings, correct it, and perfect it before ever taking it public. Or you can get a version of it working, and release it much sooner.

(In certain cases a product might need to be perfect before it’s released because of safety or other regulations, in which case this argument does not apply.)

Sometimes getting to market sooner will mean that you beat your competitors, which gives you a huge advantage in marketing and revenue potential. Sometimes getting to market sooner will mean there are more flaws in the end product that need correcting, which might end up being a customer service or PR nightmare. Sometimes getting to market sooner will mean capitalizing on a specific trend or timely event.

I stand firmly on the “get there faster” side of things. I always have. I think that when releasing something new for the first time, it’s best to keep it simple, get it done, and launch. Changes can always be made later to make it better, quicker, smoother, sexier. But perfection is unattainable. If you wait for something to be perfect before getting it to market, you will be waiting for a long time.

Where do you come in on this matter? Do you want something quicker or do you want something better, assuming you can’t have both? Share your opinions in the comments below.