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Idea: Directions ARE Your Product

By Rex Hammock

Recently, I asked a tech-savvy friend for advice on purchasing a TV. “Get one that has a Netflix button on the remote control.” Perplexed, all I could think to ask in response was, “Huh?”

“I got tired of turning on a TV and seeing a control panel more complicated than the cockpit of a 747,” my friend said. “I just wanted a simple way for anyone in the family to get to Netflix. When I said that to the salesperson, she responded, ‘This one has a Netflix button on its remote.’ So I said, ‘Sold!’”

Customers and clients don’t simply want to buy your product or retain your services. They want to accomplish something. They seek an outcome. Unfortunately, product directions, how-tos and other types of customer content that help someone use a service are often treated like afterthoughts to closing the sale.

More and more, however, customers and clients are viewing these afterthoughts as an integral part of the products or services they buy. Directions no longer are considered something that tell us “how” to use a product. Post-purchase customer media IS the product.

I took my friend’s advice and purchased a TV with a Netflix button. I had to pay extra because the feature required a Smart TV, which means it has the ability to access my home’s wifi network. It was some of the best advice I’ve ever received. Now, if only I could decide what to watch.

Bottom Line for Marketers: You may not be able to make your product directions as easy as adding a button on a remote control, but one of your top content priorities should be to help your customers understand how to get the most from a relationship with you.

 (Photo: Netflix.com)