Design Your Feedback Loop
So, let's look at how you're actually going to design the feedback loop for your offer, cuz it's one thing to see it in that pretty little diagram. It's another to actually ask the questions that are going to help you pull it together. So first of all, you guys already have the ideas that's the good news. Building is the second part of the process and as we've talked about here today, building can only happen once you figured out how you're gonna sell something what the value of it's going to be and building is the easy part. Developing the value statement, developing the opportunity in the market that's the hard part. Building to meet those standards, to meet that specification, that's the easy part. So we're going to skip ahead in the process there and we're going to get into delivering and measuring. The next time you offer your core offer, maybe it's the first time you're selling it, maybe it's the tenth time you're selling it. Every single time you offer it I want you to know what...
you're currently measuring. What are you currently measuring? For that time you're offering your product. For us, we're always measuring retention rate. We want to know that the people who join, who do are free trial, who stick around for the first month, are gonna stick around for the second month, and the third month, and the fourth month, cuz it doesn't work if they don't. We have to work too hard if retention isn't high enough. So we're constantly measuring retention, which means that we're constantly running experiments against retention. So, we're going to try this and see how that impacts retention then we're gonna try this and see how that impacts retention. The thing we're doing right now, is every month as we onboard new members we're running events and running these kind of long, I don't want to say long form, but long cycle content pushes, essentially. That did not make sense (laughs), but what we're doing on a monthly basis we're working through an editorial calendar. Maybe it's on management, maybe it's on product develop, maybe it's on marketing. Those are the three things we've done over the last three months and we're measuring that against retention. Does that help us with retention? Does it not help us, does it hurt us? It has doubled our retention or is contributed, at least to doubling our retention. So that's a thing that we can say, okay great, now we know all we have to do is build on an editorial calendar for every month. That's easy. That's a small tweak we can make to the product that we offer and the experience that our customers are having in reaction to that thing that we're measuring. You might measure how many people complete your program. You might measure how much weight someone loses at the end of your weight loss coaching. You might measure how many grants get written and accepted, right? So it can be a very customer-oriented outcome like that. It could be a very business-oriented outcome. There's all sorts of different things that you can measure, but I want you to pick one thing every single time you deliver: your product, your service, your program, your offer, and measure that. So that you're tracking something. So you're paying attention to one thing that a change may or may not produce a better outcome. Then you're gonna look at, well, What's the data that I'm going to collect here? In other words, how are you actually measuring it. Is it number of grants? Is it about money of those grants? Maybe you don't care if it's ten grants or 3 grants, if it adds up to a 100,000 dollars in grants. There's different ways to measure different things. Some of them are very obvious and very clear, others are a little different. Retention is pretty easy. I can say, I'm looking at my retention rate after a 30-day trial. That's the number I'm focusing on. It's very straight-forward. Other things that you have may not be so data driven it might be a little bit more narrative, but it's still a point of information that you're taking a look at. And then, how are you going to analyze it? When are you going to take time to analyze it? How often are we selling these products, developing these products, and not really taking the time and energy and effort that it requires to say what worked, what didn't work, and what can I learn from this? That was the third bullet point, I got ahead of myself. Very important, so I'll say it twice: When are you gonna take the time to think about this? And then when are you also gonna take the time to make adjustments to your offer? I've heard so many times from small business owners that they built something, it's now out-of-date or it's not as good as they wish it was. I've been there and done this myself as well. And they don't have the time to make it better, to bring it back up-to-date. They don't have the time to make the improvements that they need to make. The good news is that when you're really focused on that core offer, when your business is super streamlined, that is your time. Your job, as product manager, as the vast majority of you are in your businesses, is to take the time to adjust that product, to tweak the features, to figure out how you're gonna make it better, more effective. To get those data points that you want for your customers. So this is important in terms of thinking through What is the full effort behind your core offer really look like? It's not just the time that it takes to market it, it's not just the time that it takes to build it, it's not even just the time that it takes to deliver that product. You also have to account for the time to: measure, analyze, and adjust that product. The more you do that finding product market fit becomes fairly straightforward. Are you getting those easy "Yeses"? Are you getting more easy "Yeses" every time you make an adjustment? Do you need to backtrack a little and move forward in a different way? And are there enough yeses, are you seeing enough traction into the future and enough potential that that core offer can take you two years, five years, ten years into the future. That's the process of finding product market fit. It's actually fairly straightforward, but it's a process that we don't take the time to do, because we're constantly jumping from offer to offer to offer, product, to product, to product, program, to program, to package, whatever it might be, constantly creating new, new, new, new, new. Any questions about that feedback loop, that process of finding product to market fit, getting to the easy yes? Greg?
I guess the question I have is around quality and expectations around quality. So in your experience have you found that people are actually pretty forgiving about the quality? As your running prototypes, and testing the stuff, kind of building the plane as your flying it?
Yah! (laughs) So yes, people are very forgiving. I think the key is actually defining what quality is and for that I always look to my customers. My customers dictate which pieces I spent initial time on to get to the level quality they're going to be happy with. For my customers it's largely been that they don't care if the technology is kind of clunky, or the branding is kind of clunky, if they get personalized support or if they get access to me or to my team. So, prototyping for me has always looked like we're gonna give you everything we've got, in terms of loving up on you, in terms of quality of the content itself, but you don't care if I deliver it to you in an HD video or it's an audio file you can load up on your phone and take a walk with, right? And so I've not spent tons and tons of time in the past, on developing out those kind of features before I'm sure that quality-wise in terms of the content, the customer experience, and the customer results. As long as that stuff I feel good about and am confident about, I don't care about the other stuff. Eventually I will care, because I'm a high prestige personality and I like things to look good. That's one of the reasons I love being on CreativeLive they make me look good (laughs). Even this! This is content that has been tested other places. It's conversations I've had other places in a lot less polished way (laughs). That then we can bring here, and make it look really good and build this product that looks amazing and feels amazing. Makes sense?
Yah, and so I'm always thinking about my customers' personal values. What do they really value? Another way to look at this is: What buying decisions do they make where they're spending more money without really needing to? Right? So my example with this is always organic produce. Right? I bet all five of you spend extra money on organic produce, because your personal values are dictating that this is a place I want to spend money. I know that I could buy those strawberries for two dollars less a quart, a pint, if I bought conventional, but I'm gonna spend those two bucks on organic produce, cuz that's what I value. You wanna figure out what those value points are for your customers in your market, too. What are they willing to spend money on. What trade offs are they willing to give in order to get something that they value. With organic produce it's a trade-off of money, for perceived quality of the product and for you, it might be your trading off technology, or polish on something in terms of, a prototype in order to get really high value services or to get personalized attention in that early prototyping phase. Okay? Other questions. Jennifer?
So what do you think are the common pitfalls in this product fit kind of thing? I think, Greg's question made me think about that in particular, sometimes we get so caught up in the perfect, like we have to this..it needs to look really beautiful besides that, what are common things? I also see that's a really good way to keep yourself from executing.
Yes, (laughs) one of the common pitfalls I see is people just not sticking with the product long enough. They'll "launch it", really trying hard not to use that word, but that's the word everyone else is thinking of so they'll "launch it" once. It'll sell well, they'll launch it a second time, it won't sell well, because they didn't make adjustments to their messaging. They didn't learn from that initial campaign. And then they'll be like, oh I guess that didn't work out after all. They put it in the drawer of their desk and they move on to the next thing. Whereas I think, to be confident in product market fit, to feel like really what you're doing is not gonna work, you actually need to sell something at least three times, or probably more like five times (laughs), before you really can feel like, alright I'm on the right track or no, this really isn't gonna work I need to make a much bigger pivot here. So, really it's just that willingness to stick with something. It's the discipline to say, I'm gonna try something slightly different, I'm gonna spend some extra time on marketing. Whatever it might be to really test out is this the thing or not. So for me, the biggest pitfall is just moving on much too quickly.
So in that process is part of that too really nailing down your analysis? So that you're actually figuring out like what was successful this time, what wasn't, so you know when it's a total flop?
Yes, for sure and also that analysis can apply to the marketing and the sales process too. So right now we're talking specifically about product development, but you wanna be building and measuring in terms of your marketing too. So what I see is people will jump ship on messaging too fast, too. It's like, no that was close it just wasn't quite right. So you want to test until you take the thing that's close and turn it into the thing that's amazing. It really took us about eight months with CoCommercial for me to feel like, no, we nailed this messaging because we are communicating exactly what we offer, people get it quickly enough, that they're willing to sign up for a free trial and then from there we can deliver on that promise. It took me a long time! And I know what I'm doing. So it's this process of you gotta stick with it, you gotta change little bit by little bit by little bit until you really feel like either: I got it, it's still gonna be hard work, but I'm gonna persevere this is the right thing or, I need to make a much bigger pivot. Okay?
Yah, which makes complete sense, why the whole having a toolbox full of junk doesn't work, because you never can go through the process if you got all this other stuff you're trying to do. I get it.
The clouds part! (Tara laughs)
Let's go to the online question: "Measuring gets tricky because I can never tell if it's the product-market fit that's the issue or my marketing/sales process. Any tips on how to differentiate?" Yes, so this is where you really wanna talk with your customers and the time you want to talk with your customers is even if you've gotta flop of a campaign, and maybe you only enrolled 10 people when you wanted to enroll 20, you want to talk to those 10 customers, both at the beginning and at the end of your program. You want to figure out why they enrolled at the beginning and then at the end you want to find out what was the value they actually got out of the program, because very often what you'll find is they signed up for one reason or they got one message from your marketing, but the value they got was actually pretty different or their experience was different than what they expected it to be, hopefully in a good way. So from there you can say, oh I thought I was selling this, but really what I'm selling is this other thing over here. And then you can pivot your messaging based on the results of the product itself, so that the next time you're through that build, learn, and measure cycle build, measure, and learn cycle you're actually doing it with your marketing, too. So, you're learning in terms of your product development, and then your learning in terms of your marketing development as well. So that's how I differentiate between those two things: is the thing I'm trying to communicate, is that actually sinking in and is it actually true by the time I've delivered this product. So, we're actually in the process of experimenting with that right now at CoCommercials. I ran a survey last week about: When you first signed up, why did you sign up? And next week I'll be running a survey around, now that you've been here for awhile: What is really valuable about this from month to month? So I wanna know is it consistent, does it shift. Do you learn something new when you join us for awhile? How can I incorporate that into my marketing? And then taking time to really analyze that. Thinking about that, because taking time is the most important part.