Work harder on the value not the technology

Having just come back from the largest tech marketing conference in Canada DX3, my mind is whirling. The number of innovations that I saw were impressive. In every presentation, there was a clear message: it’s not about the amazing technology you bring to an industry, it’s about the value of that innovation. Sadly, this message was missed by a lot of the inventors I met on the show floor. I wanted to tell you these stories because it paralleled what I see with my clients struggling with every day. How do you convey your value to customers-even if (and especially if) there’s nothing like yours on the market? Here is what I saw:

True Value Of The Innovation Buried

A company called Authentic Or Not had lined up a bunch of brand name designer purses on their counter. They were using a cell phone requiring NO app to tap against a small button sized chip inside the lining of the purse. Once tapped, the phone would pull up a screen that claimed Authentic or Not Authentic. Imagine Coach purses inserting this in their manufacturing and educating their consumers about how to tell if it was fake or not by a simple phone tap. This technology could obliterate the Billion Dollar counterfeit economy with a single tap. Well, when I first asked what the company did, I was given so many uses for the technology that the counterfeit story came out at the end of the list. I mean, here I was at a Marketing show and most of the audience were brand managers so I was really confused. The message and the value of the innovation was so diluted, I almost didn’t realize what a gold this product was to brand managers of manufacturers. What if he had started off by saying “Our innovation is going to stop the $500Billion cost of counterfeiting for designer label manufacturers”.


I Don’t Care If They Like It Innovation

A little ways down at another booth, an earnest looking woman, who turned out to be the Founder and a Mom showed me the app called We Need DateNight. Out of her own desire to centralize finding affordable babysitters, she had created an app for vetting and hiring sitters. When I asked who her best users were and if this was a big pain point for all Moms, she simply shrugged and said ‘I don’t care, I made it for myself’. And yet she was investing her time and money on this idea with the assumptions that 1. all Moms are alike and 2. there was a market need big enough to feed her business. I personally did check it out and sign up but haven’t set up interviews yet simply because our kid is 8 and we have already built a reserve of our fave sitters so we don’t need it. The bigger question is, what kind of parents DO need it the most? I didn’t really get the answer to that but how many clients have I helped discover that no, the market didn’t need them and wouldn’t pay them? Too many…

Real Value Innovations But Still Missing Messaging

Here’s a few I really loved and wished could better convey their value. A company called Dynamicly had invented a voice command Chatbot that would sit on a website. So imagine going onto your bank’s website and just saying ‘order cheques’ and it would do it for you. The demo was great but again, there were too many verticals targeted and too many applications for my confused mind. Instead, he could’ve just told me “We reduce the 70% cart abandon rate for online clothing retailers by verbally helping shoppers select options in real-time”. Wouldn’t that get attention?

Another fave Mylo was a forced savings software that allowed you to auto-invest every purchase by tapping into your credit card or interact purchases and rounding it up to the next dollar. The 20 year old girl at the booth had gotten $2K at the end 4 months, without even once checking back into the app. It all just compounded and built wealth for her in the background. How brilliant is that for a Millennial? Couldn’t the message have been “90% of Millenials don’t save any money and will need 3 jobs for living expenses by the age of 30. What we do is force them to save without even being aware of it”

So the real value isn’t in the technology. It’s in what problem you solve with that innovation. And ultimately it’s in how you message it. If you can’t convey the value to a specific audience, then sadly confused minds don’t buy when they can’t see what’s in it for them. Help them make the connection. Then watch your sales soar.

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