Moving on now to product creation tip number three. Stop for a moment. Look around. We’ve done this before in tip number one, mix with your market. You should have already had a go at this, and if you haven’t, I urge you to go back to tip number one and do so, because the exercise there is the basis of idea generation.
This time, instead of looking around you, I want you to listen. Listen to your friends, the people you hang around with. Eavesdrop on your family. How about the person behind you in the queue at the supermarket, what are they talking about?
Do you see how I’m building on all the senses here? I wasn’t lying when I said to you product creation is about generating ideas through being aware of yourself and your surroundins in a more heightened fashion than those who don’t know how to do this.
The fact of the matter is there’s so much going on in our lives that unless you force yourself into this for the first few weeks, it won’t happen to you because you’ll fall back into that daily grind-like trance. Once you’ve done this for a long while, it will start to become habit, an automatic thing that will sound alarm bells in your head when you hear someone mention an idea, even when you’ve never actually met the person, and probably never will.
How many times have you heard a friend or family member, or even a random passer by say ‘I wish product X did action Y?’ I hear that almost every single day, from myself and those around me. It’s amazing how good we are complaining about things, but rarely ever think about trying to put them right, let alone thinking along the lines of making a profit at the same time.
Let me give you an example of exactly how I created some of my products, or rather, how other people created these products for me. Picture the situation. It’s a hot summers day, I’ve just decided I want to create a fire sale, but this time, it has to be a fire sale with a difference. So I shovel myself out of bed, jump in the shower, and do all the other morning stuff that people tend to do in the morning.
I turn my computer on and write my goal down. I create a new folder called ‘Fire sale 3’ and then create a text document inside. This is going to be my fire sale planner where I’m going to want to come up with ten or so products that I can package up and make a killing with later this summer.
At that point, the computer goes off. I don’t go around looking for products or inspiration, I don’t think hard about what I’m going to do. I don’t need to really, because when using the methods in these sections, they come to me.
Anyway, I’m feeling a little thirsty and decide to have a healthy breakfast this morning, so I head out to the store near me to pick up a bottle of Dr Pepper and a chocolate bar. I walk in, grab my gear, and walk to the queue. Now over here right now, football is all the rage, so it didn’t really surprise me to find two young kids in front of me talking away about where they learned their football skills from and arguing about which one is better.
It was at that point, one of them began talking about this book he read of a footballers training regime. Kids? Reading books? I couldn’t help but keep listening at that point. ‘Yeah,’ he continued. ‘I bought this book that he wrote, and I don’t care what you say, you can learn to be skillful from reading a book. I never understood half the stuff people were on about when they talked about their training, but this guy made it into a diary and encouraged readers to follow it, and I did, that’s why I’m so much better than you now, ’cause I understand it all properly. I understand why now’.
At that point they paid and walked off. The checkout assistant had to call me over because I was still pondering over what they said. Now bear in mind it’s obvious what’s coming when I put it to you in the context of product creation, but at that point in time it was just one of hundreds if not thousands of random occurrences that happen to us all every single day, so it took me a moment to make the connection.
I got home and began a diary, not just of random marketing stuff, but of a 14 day challenge to create something big, noting down every detail, from what woke me up in the morning, how long I was working, what I was working on, how I was coming up with my ideas, how they were being developed, written, launched and sold. At the end of the week I had a 200 page document that I knew immediately was going to be a big hit. It was so different to anything I’d done before, and on reading it I had ‘that good feeling’ that you get, when you know something is just oozing quality. Turns out my friends, family, colleagues and customers thought exactly the same.
So I take this moment to thank the two 8 or 9 year olds that were arguing in the queue in a Budgens store in front of me in mid 2006, because I just took nearly $150,000 in sales because of my star product, the idea of which, you handed me on a plate.
You see, it’s not all about watching or reading. You need to listen, and you need to draw inspiration from not just other marketers, not just your close friends, but everything around you. Your surroundings, what you hear, what you see, who you meet, who you hear talking, what you’re touching, what you enjoy, what you dislike.
You don’t even need to actively set out to look for ideas, the moment you can reach that sense of awareness and snap out of that trance you’re in, bang, they’ll start hitting you from all angles, and you won’t be able to type fast enough to note them all down.
Ok this is where my inner kid comes out, because it’s still thriving. This is a lot of fun and makes a lot of money, so what I’m going to ask you to do now is this. Go shopping. In a supermarket, you’re surrounded by the cream of the crop, the best marketing, the best presentation, products, ideas and of course the shoppers who are absolutely packed full of opinions.
So there we have it. Turn your computer off, and go buy a few things from the nearest supermarket, even if it’s just a coke or something. While you’re there, take your time walking around and listen and watch everything. When you hear someone complain, or mention anything that they like or dislike, or come up with any idea that they may laugh off and say ‘Yeah if only that existed’ think about it hard. How does it relate to your marketing and the presentation of your products?
You will never run out of ideas again once you master this, not to mention it’s pretty fun trying to look inconspicuous reading labels when actually you’re trying to listen in on other peoples’ conversations for that career enhancing, product creating tip that’s going to take your profit beyond what you ever thought possible.
Fact of the matter is, I’m not trying to be funny, I’m not trying to be different, come up with something new or eccentric. It works. Try it if you don’t believe me.
I wonder if they’d be mad if they knew people were making millions of dollars from their ideas.