I recently used a digital product that took me on the very important journey from “I-guess-I’ll-try-it” to “I-gotta-keep-using-this”.

In business, we affectionately refer to the completion of that journey as the “aha” moment.

In my case, the “aha” I experienced was with a product called PickFu (just my own experience, mind you — I don’t work for them), which allows you to use instant polls to get unbiased feedback on a piece of content, a message, or an idea. A poll could be used for lots of things, from an author deciding on a book cover, to a marketer evaluating a piece of copywriting, to a product designer testing different user interfaces.

I used it to compare two different titles and images I created for an article I wrote. I wanted to know which one was more enticing for readers to click.

What made the experience stand out was not simply that it satisfied the job of showing me which version of the article was more appealing, but that it achieved the “aha” moment to make me want to keep using the product.

Thinking more about my experience led me to two questions:

  1. What are we, as customers, actually experiencing during that “aha” moment?
  2. As business / product owners, how can understanding that process help you articulate the experience to others?

Identifying the Value Your Product Really Provides

When a product satisfies a “Job to Be Done” for a customer, it’s providing some kind of value to them. That value can take a wide variety of forms, from basic/functional (e.g. saves time) to abstract/aspirational (e.g., provides hope).

Learning how your customers experience these elements when using your product can help you prioritize which features are most important to them (or which features may be missing). Understanding that, in turn, can help you favorably position your product offering against your competitors, as well as strengthen and focus your branding and marketing language.

The strategy consultancy Bain & Company recently published an article that outlines 30 fundamental “elements of value” that customers experience when engaging with different types of products. They then measured the impact of these values with customers of different well known companies to see what role they played in loyalty and growth.

They show the relationship of these elements in the following hierarchy:

 

In general, the more elements a company’s product scored high on, the stronger their customer loyalty, as well as revenue and market share growth.

In addition, they found that scoring highly on emotional elements resulted in higher levels of customer loyalty and advocacy than those that scored well mainly on functional elements.

Let’s see how those values applied to my “aha” experience with PickFu.

What Values Did I Experience?

When I used PickFu, I absolutely experienced several Functional values, including:

  • Quality
  • Reduces effort
  • Saves time
  • Simplifies
  • Organizes
  • Informs

More or less what I expected from a product that delivers instant polling data that’s informative on both quantitative and qualitative levels.

But what was more impactful to me from an experience standpoint, and what really drove home the “aha” moment, were the elements from the Emotionaland Aspirational (or “Life Changing”) categories.

Emotional:

  • Reduces anxiety: After getting my poll results, I immediately felt more informed about the perception of both title/image options for my article. This removed the uncertainty that I felt about whether I might make a meaningful connection with either option.
  • Provides access: Getting access to the combination of demographic data and personal comments was very empowering and greatly exceeded the value of click/read analytics on a site like Medium or ad hoc opinions I might collect on my own.
  • Fun / entertainment: Because the results literally flowed in as I watched, there was a real rush of excitement with learning what 50 random people thought about my content. It was like holding a live focus group specifically for my challenge.

Aspirational:

  • Motivation: Seeing how well this product worked and how quickly it could inform decisions instantly made me want to apply it to other facets of work that we’re doing to help improve our internal marketing as well as using it with external client work.
  • Self-actualization: It instilled the value of being informed about my work as more important than any particular slant of positive or negative feedback. It helped me focus more on what I could learn about my content rather than simply seeking an answer. In other words, it helped me become a better, more thoughtful writer.

Those are some pretty huge benefits to gain from a product that is, on its surface, a polling tool.

And that’s why digging into this process is so important.

There are certain types of value that your customers will experience when they interact with your product, even if they aren’t consciously aware of what they’re experiencing. If you can unpack that hidden value by listening to your customers (e.g. through interviews or comments) you can craft features and messages that align with their needs and priorities.

And what happens when the customer’s job and values align with your product’s features and marketing messages? Your product “clicks” with them and leads them straight to that “aha” moment!

Pushing and Pulling Your Way to “Aha”

So, now let’s see how you can craft marketing messages that speak to the things your customers truly value about your product.

To help with this, let’s look at the forces that affect your customer’s ability to reach an “aha” moment with your product. These forces define the psychological attraction that customers experience for products they use or are considering.

The forces include:

  1. The push away from the current solution: It’s falling short of satisfying our job(s) to be done.
  2. The pull of a new solution: That new solution might improve on our current solution’s weaknesses.
  3. The anxiety of what could happen: But what if that new solution isn’t as good as we hoped?
  4. The irrational attachment to what you currently have: We’re already used to doing things this way, and some of it works pretty well. It would be a lot of work to change.

Targeting the Values of Your Customers

You can now harness what your customers value to help support or counteract the forces affecting their decision to use your product. And remember: there’s extra impact if you can focus on emotional and aspirational values.

Here are some example marketing messages that touch on a mix of the values I experienced when using PickFu, followed by which force each one addresses:

  1. “Avoid the white-knuckle moment of launching a marketing message that you never really tested” (The push away from the current solution)
  2. “Get fast, in-depth understanding of how your audience really thinks about your product — in their own words.” (The pull of a new solution)
  3. “Customer insights so quick and easy, you’ll actually look forward to testing.” (The anxiety of what could happen)
  4. “Trade your mountains of raw data for clear insights that actually get you informed“ (The irrational attachment to what you currently have)

Of course these are just examples, but they should highlight how taking the time to dig into the experience of your customers can provide valuable insights on the things they value most.

This approach gives you a clear, structured way to craft — and update — your marketing messages as you learn more and more about your customers.

By listening to your customers and validating what you know about the jobs they’re trying to accomplish and the values they attribute to those jobs, you should see more and more of them having “aha” moments with your product.

Want Help Connecting With Your Audience?

At Map & Fire we use a process called Lean Strategy to help entrepreneurs and business leaders make sense of their business, including creating strong connections between their customers and their product.

If you need help or are just curious, try our free worksheet for defining your company’s Purpose. It’ll help you outline your Core Purpose, Values, Vision, and Big Goals for your business.

Taking the time to write those things down is the first step toward making a stronger connection with your audience.

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