LEAN STARTUP MARKETING CHALLENGES

LSM Online currently has 10 CHALLENGES to help concertize your learning of the PRODUCTIZATION process. Executing each IN ORDER will teach you the necessary components of that ‘math like’ equation, to perform the PRODUCTIZATION process with each idea you hope to actualize into an offering of value, now, or for ideas that may come in the future.

CHALLENGE #1a

Engage in Generating IDEAS for Products and Services (a)

1. List three (3) of your top INTERESTS (aka passions). Be as SPECIFIC as possible!
What do you love to do (or even like to do)? Are you a gamer? An athlete? Like to bake? Shop? Read? Traveling? Gardening? Crazy in-love with your dog or cat?

2. Come up with ONE (1) IDEA for a product or service that is in-line with one [or more] of your INTERESTS/passions (to increase your likelihood of startup success).

Examples:
• You are the proud developer of an MMOG game, and it’s better than Call of Duty.
• You bake the best ? on the planet, and you want the world to taste ‘em.
• You’re a science fiction fan, and want to share your thoughts on reads, movies, and other finds on an All Things SciFi blog (for affiliate marketing $$$!).

CHALLENGE #1b 

Engage in Generating IDEAS for Products and Services (b)

1. THINK of at least five (5) PROBLEMS you frequently encounter, and WRITE THEM DOWN in a document titled: “MY FREQUENT PROBLEMS.” NUMBER each PROBLEM as shown below.
Examples:
1. Trash bags that don’t stay on the rim of the can when you throw garbage in it.
2. Spending half an hour or more looking for a movie you’ll actually like on Netflix or Xfinity.
3. Internet access through Comcast or ATT that keeps crashing while you’re watching the Netflix movie it just took you an hour to find.
4. Your kids are not doing their chores, or well in school, or…?
5. You have no one to share how you really feel, and therapy is too expensive and/or time consuming.
6. You don’t have the time or energy to be a full-time parent and build a full-time career, but you want kids and need money.
7. You get tired by 3:00 in the afternoon and want a healthy, fun, wake-you-up, but slow burning energy snack.
8. You can’t get a good job without work experience. And you can’t get work experience without a job.
9. You know it’s unhealthy to lock your dog inside all day, but there’s no way to let him run and play during your workday.

2. Use a corresponding number sequence to LIST [at least] five (5) SOLUTIONS to your list of 5 problems.
Examples:
1a. Trash bags made with a 3” thick rubber-band around the top rim.
2a. A recommendation system that actually works to individual preferences.
5a. Online therapy with qualified pro counselors available when I need to talk.
7a. My organic, low-fat, gluten-free, great-tasting cupcakes and scones.
8a. A web platform to match students who are attending, or have recently graduated college with employers looking for interns and trainees.
9a. A P2P service of local, professional pet care advocates, from doggie daycare with pick up and delivery, to personal doggy assistants.
3. Pick ONE (1) of your SOLUTIONS, and (if you don’t have an idea, or product to sell yet) use it as the IDEA you’ll actualize and market for profit, step-by-step, during this course.

The possibilities are endless for CHALLENGES #1 and #1a, but it is recommended that you have an IDEA TO DEVELOP to realize the full potential of this course. The IDEA is less important than working the process, so don’t dwell on creating a brilliant idea, or even one that you can produce right now. Imagine creating something you are passionate about, or solving a recurring problem, then come up with a basic (even vague) IDEA to do what you love, or fix your issue. LSM Online is designed to teach you the PROCESS of TURNING AN IDEA into an OFFERING of value, and then MARKETING it, for PROFIT. Learn by engaging in the process, and you’ll be able to actualize ANY IDEA [that may come] by simply following the steps of the RAF Marketing methodology IN ORDER (kind of like a math equation ; ).

CHALLENGE #2

Engage in Learning About PEOPLE

Watch what people DO, to understand what attracts us, and motivates us to ACT.

1. For ONE (1) WEEK, SEVEN FULL DAYS, observe and journal about the people you see (at school, at home, at Starbucks). WATCH what we DO, and WRITE IT DOWN. Keep each observations under 100 words (preferably less) of text.Create SEVEN (7) doc files, or actually write down on a separate piece of paper EACH DAY, at least FIVE (5) OBSERVATIONS PER DAY of an individual’s behavior, or of two or more people interacting. OBSERVATIONS can be of family dynamics at the dinner table, or someone at a cafe.
• WATCH CAREFULLY, and WRITE WHAT YOU SEE of INTEREST, not “they sat working on their laptop,” but subtleties, if they exist. What are they doing on the computer (if you can see)? How often do they look up? Who do they look at, or focus their attention on? Do they look to see who’s looking at them? OBSERVE CAREFULLY.
• Pay close attention to your subject’s mannerisms, how they talk—aggressive, close up, ‘in-yo-face’? Expressive, with a lot of hand gestures? What is the expression on the faces of the people listening in any given interaction? Do they look bored? Annoyed? Glad to be there listening? Do they engage? If not, why? Are they shy?
WRITE DOWN WHAT YOU SEE, not your interpretation of what you see—ONLY WHAT YOU SEE and HEAR from OBSERVATION.

2. Log Demographic, Geographic, Psychological and Behavioral data:
• Title each entry with the DATE, TIME and LOCATION of each observation.
• Start your OBSERVATION with Gender, Age (approx.), Race, and other obvious DEMOGRAPHIC data, like someone wearing a cross, we can generally assume they are Christian.
• Note mannerisms, behavior. Do they look away when someone looks at them? Boldly stare back? Solicit conversation with someone close by?
• Note purchases—what was purchased, the size or quantity, how long it took to buy.
Example: You’re in Nostrum’s watching a 20-something, slender, chic Black woman try on nine pairs of shoes before purchasing what looks like an identical pair of the same pumps she wore into the store.

3. EDIT seven (7) of your most interesting OBSERVATIONS down to 280 CHARACTERS or less.
Remember, characters include spaces between words. Pick the most revealing bits from each (long text) OBSERVATION to tell a complete story.
Examples:
• He flirted with a blond woman across the room. She glanced at him, as if looking through him, then continued scanning the cafe.
• He scowled at her across the table, rolled his eyes several times but his dining partner didn’t notice. She was on her cellphone the entire meal.

CHALLENGE #3

Engage in Self-Awareness

The CONVERSION FUNNEL illustrates how a SALE is made, from the top down—Awareness to Sale. CHALLENGE #3, you will REVERSE this process, and BEGIN with the SALE.

1. Pick a large purchase you’ve recently made. Did you buy a car? An expensive piece of clothing or jewelry? Tickets to a show, or business conference?

2. List what motivated your decision that lead to your COMMITMENT to purchase?

3. Next, what got you to even CONSIDER the purchase?

4. What piqued your INTEREST in purchasing the offering?

5. How did you first become AWARE of the offering you eventually purchased?

Reversing the CONVERSION FUNNEL shows you what motivates a Target User—YOU—to make a purchase.

6. Now, project an ideal Target User for your offering, and perform CHALLENGE #3 for this ideal customer’s journey from SALE to AWARENESS. This process can help you find new ways to reach existing customers, and even identify potential new users.

CHALLENGE #4

Engage in Learning Your Primers and Triggers

To understand how an effective CTA works, first, examine your own psychology.

1. Create a list of 7 – 10 active BRAND BLOGS that have a large number of quality posts. Some good ones to get you started:
Target
Amazon AWS (web services)
Amazon Business (business blog)
Whole Foods
LinkedIn
Huffington Post
Tesla
Nordstrom
There are tons to choose from. Simply google the BRAND you want, and add “blog,” i.e. “TARGET blog.”

2. Peruse the first page of each site, and note articles, or advertising on the page, that grabs your attention. Take a screen grab, or document the headline, content, CTA, and describe the imagery of [at least] seven (7) posts or ads that stood out for you.

3. Add a brief description of WHY the post or ad attracted your attention. Did you click on the link to read the full article, or the button on an advertisement? Did you sign-up for a newsletter, or to get a coupon, or free gift? What was the IMPLIED or DIRECT CTA that motivated you to take an action, if you did? If the post or ad got your attention but you did NOT click, WHY?

Understanding what CTAs motivate YOU to act, will help you get intimate with at least one type of Target User—YOU.

4. Now, project an ideal Target User for the product or service you’re hoping to sell (your offering). List [at least] three (3) IMPLIED, and three (3) DIRECT CTAs that you think would motivate your ideal Target User to purchase, sign-up, or click the link in your ad.

Projecting a Target Users journey to conversion—doing what your CTA directs—will help you get intimate with your projected customers, making it more likely you’ll convert them with your marketing and advertising efforts.

CHALLENGE #5

Engage in Learning PRODUCTIZATION

1. Go to Amazon.com.

2. Choose a CONSUMER product you know (preferably use). Suggestions:
• Tech device (cellphone; tablet)
• Office Products (computers; printers)
• Home/Garden (décor; tools)
• Food Product (groceries; wine)
• Sports/Outdoor (supplies and equipment)
• Health/Beauty (vitamins; makeup)

3. Go to the PRODUCT PAGE of your chosen offering and find the FEATURES of the product. (Also look at Product Specifications; Information; or From the Manufacturer sections for additional FEATURES.)

4. List ALL the FEATURES you find of your chosen product. List ONLY FEATURES. Do not include benefits.

Discovering how FEATURES of an offering are used in real world marketing will show you why it is necessary to perform this first phase of the PRODUCTIZATION process.

CHALLENGE #6

Engage in Target Marketing

1. Pick a favorite movie.
Example: “An Inconvenient Truth” (2006)

2. Write a brief description of the film.
Example: Vice-President Al Gore uses data analysis and science to show us how humanity is negatively impacting the environment of Earth, and inadvertently creating Global Warming. He closes the film with practical actions we can all take in our daily lives to conserve energy and help stop our destructive impact on the planet.

3. Describe the audience who were originally targeted with the movie’s marketing efforts.
Example: Male/Female. 25 – 65 yrs old. College educated. $$$ – $$$$ income. Democrats. Married/Divorced. Parents of teen or adult kids. City/Suburb of major city (but not rural or remote). White-collar career path. Energy-efficient, healthy lifestyle, PBS, and late night comedy or talk show consumers.

4. Identify a NEW Target Market you’d like to motivate to see the film.
Example: Male over Female 2 : 1. 17 – 75 yrs old. Whites. Religious conservatives. High school educated. $ – $$$ income. Republicans. Married/Divorced. Military, manufacturing or proletariat job functions. Living in rural or remote areas of the U.S. Large, gas-powered vehicles, fast food, reality and game show consumers.

5. REWRITE the TITLE of the film, to attract your NEW Target Market.
Example: “The Good, Bad, Fake and Real Truth” (2006)

6. Write a NEW brief DESCRIPTION of the movie that pays off the NEW TITLE, to get your NEW Target Market to see the film. (Remember, you are targeting a different audience now.)
Example: Dystopian look at a future where weather is out of control, and eventually destroys everything on the face of Mother Earth with earthquakes, tornado, and global flooding. Shameless support for renewable energy, while dissing traditional American industries like coal and oil.

Targeting your advertising and marketing efforts to address the desires or issues of a specific group of people (Target Market) will garner the greatest response.

CHALLENGE #7

Engage in Learning SaaS Productization

1. Go to Google Play: play.google.com/store/apps

2. Find a SOFTWARE application (preferably one you use). Suggestions:
• Music (Spotify; Rock Hero; Dance)
• Entertainment (Netflix; Hulu; Gaming; Podcasts)
• Business (CMS*; CRM*; Networking; Analytics)
• Peer-to-Peer services (ride/home sharing; Ed-Tech)

3. Go to the application’s SALES PAGE, and find the Features and BENEFITS list/s.
(They may be combined, or separate, as in LSM_Pic25. Product BENEFITS may be under READ MORE in the opening copy, as well as in the WHAT’S NEW section towards the bottom of the web page.)

4. List ALL the BENEFITS you find of your chosen application. List ONLY BENEFITS. Do not include software’s Features or Functions.

Discovering how BENEFITS of a SaaS offering are used in real world marketing will show you why it is necessary to perform this second phase of the PRODUCTIZATION process exhaustively.

*Content Management System; Customer Relationship Management

CHALLENGE #8

Engage in Targeting a Market for an Offering

1. Pick a POPULAR product, service or BRAND you DO NOT use. (I don’t use Uber, or Sephora. I have my own car, and I don’t wear make-up.) Title this CHALLENGE with the PRODUCT or SERVICE NAME and a URL.

2. List DEMOGRAPHIC, GEOGRAPHIC, PSYCHOGRAPHIC, and BEHAVIORAL characteristics of the ‘lowest hanging fruit,’ or the most likely Target Market for the product or service you choose. (This Target Market, may, or may not, be the one the BRAND is already targeting with their advertising and marketing.)

Example: Sephora Brand; http://www.sephora.com/
• Projected Target MARKET (lowest hanging fruit)
• DEMOGRAPHICS: Female. 15 – 55. Single. Dating. Newly Married/Divorced. Mom to newborn to toddler, or no kids. $$ – $$$$ income. High School student – College educated. White-collar career track, admin – c-level exec.
• GEOGRAPHICS: City or suburb dweller, within 40 mi of major east or west coast metropolis. Trending or ‘good’ (expensive) neighborhoods.
• PSYCHOGRAPHIC: She likes to be noticed, even envied for her appearance. She rarely leaves the house without putting on makeup, which she believes she needs to look acceptable. She consistently feels judged by others, and worries about the impression she’s made in business and social events. Makeup is often her ‘mask’ of confidence.
• BEHAVIORAL: She has both professional, and weekend/play attire. She wears heels to work and dating. She frequents dance and music venues. She’s a avid smartphone user. She’s on most trending social media platforms. Most of her electronic devices, from her phone to laptop are Apple products. Much of her disposal income is spent on entertainment and fashion.

Target Marketing a product you do NOT use, will demand you step outside your desires, and examine the characteristics and psychology of people who are different than you.

CHALLENGE #9

Get Intimate with Your Target Users

How well do you know your partner, spouse, best friend? Let’s find out, and drill down on a Target Market of your choosing, to get intimate with a potential Target USER.

1. Pick a close relative or friend (your ‘subject’), someone you think you know well. Title this CHALLENGE with the NAME of the person you’ll interview, and your relationship to them.

2. Profile your subject, and list their characteristics that form a Target Market. Make sure to list DEMOGRAPHIC, GEOGRAPHIC, PSYCHOGRAPHIC, and BEHAVIORAL characteristics of the Target MARKET to which your relative or friend belongs. (See example in CHALLENGE #8)

3. Interview your close relative or friend (your ‘subject’). Ask them the following intimate questions:
• WHY do you believe in the religion you do? (If they’re atheist, or agnostic, ask WHY.)
• What SCARES you the most? Why?
• Do you think you are attractive? Why, or why not?
• Recount a recent event or exchange that HURT your feelings. Why?
• What infuriates you, even if you don’t express it? Why?
• What habit would you’d like to quit, or behavior pattern you’d like to break? How has this habit or behavior negatively impacted your life?
• List the top three behaviors (punctual, honest, kind) you LIKE about yourself.
• What or who do you care about the MOST? Why?
• What percentage of the time that you are engaged in working do you enjoy your job?
• Name a hidden passion you never realized (I always wanted to be a_____.)
• What do you like MOST about yourself? Why?
• What do you like LEAST about yourself? Why?
• What was your last expensive unnecessary purchase (expensive is different for everyone). When? Do you use what you purchased? Why, or why not?
• Do you LIKE people (in general)? Why, or why not?
• What is one of your biggest regrets? Why?
Add as many intimate questions as you can think of that reveal details about your subject. Discovering what they believe in, and don’t, will give you clues to what motivates their behavior. Be as direct as possible. Be very careful NOT to judge, or comment on their answers to your questions. Simply write down your subject’s response, and move on to the next question.

4. Create a Target USER list with the new information you gleaned from interviewing your subject, or broad Target Market. (Demographic and Geographic data will remain the same, but PSYCHOGRAPHIC and BEHAVIORAL data should be added to extensively.)

The more intimate we get with the individual we’re trying to sell to—our Target USER—know what they like, and don’t, what they’ll purchase, or buy into, where to find them, and how to reach them, the more likely we are to convert them with our advertising and marketing efforts.

CHALLENGE #10

PRODUCTIZE YOU!

IMAGINE you are single, and dating, or looking to date. Now, create a PERSONAL AD, to a potential date on Match.com, eHarmony, or other dating application.
BEFORE you write your ad:
1. LIST [at least] 5 FEATURES of YOU.

2. LIST [at least] 5 BENEFITS of YOU.

3. LIST characteristics of your projected Target Market using all four data sources in the Target Marketing process: DEMOGRAPHIC, GEOGRAPHIC, PSYCHOGRAPHIC, BEHAVIORAL. Remember, you must know WHO you are marketing to for the best conversion rates on your ad—getting response from candidates that you’ll likely find interest in dating.

4. LIST characteristics of your projected Target USERS using the typical data sources for Targeting USERS: PSYCHOGRAPHIC and BEHAVIORAL.

5. Research OTHER PERSONAL ADS by people like you—the same sex, basic age, sexual orientation, interests…etc, and LIST [at least] 5 of the most common FEATURES and BENEFITS of people like you, competing for, or getting the attention you’d like from the same Market/User your PERSONAL AD will target.

6. Identify and LIST FEATURES and BENEFITS of YOU that are DIFFERENT, better than your competitors.

7. WRITE the personal ad, using your UVPs, or best bits about YOU—your greatest BENEFITS that set you apart from your competitors.

Productizing YOURSELF, teaches you how to PRODUCTIZE…anything! Do NOT publish your PERSONAL AD, (unless you want to…; }). Simply upload it to the Dropbox link for review.