MODULE 2—The PRODUCTIZATION Process
We begin the journey of actualizing an idea into a product or service by taking the first step.
Step 1— Get ready, and PRODUCTIZE an IDEA into an offering of value.
PRODUCTIZATION is the PROCESS of getting to know your offering. As CEO of your idea, your #1 job is to SELL IT. You must be able to market—talk, write about, advertise your projected offering clearly, concisely, knowledgeably.
Performing the PRODUCTIZATION PROCESS helps us get intimate with our idea. This is important for several reasons. First, WE must have a thorough understanding of what we plan to sell— the characteristics, or FEATURES of our potential offering. We must understand how the FEATURES of our idea translate to BENEFITS, and identify WHO will BENEFIT from the FEATURES of our upcoming product or service.
During the PRODUCTIZATION PROCESS we’ll implement LISTS of bullet FEATURES, BENEFITS/Solutions, and TARGET MARKETS for your offering, not only to talk about it with knowledge, but to use as CONTENT for your advertising and marketing material in the BRANDING process down the line.
The PRODUCTIZATION PROCESS is not rock science, but it’s the first place most startup fail. At best, neglecting to implement this process, this FIRST STEP, you’ll likely waste a lot of time and money with misdirected advertising and marketing. At worst, ignoring PRODUCTIZATION leads to startup failure. The process is time consuming, detail oriented, and necessary to implement, IN ORDER, for startup success at launch, and beyond.
To begin, let’s examine the steps in the process of PRODUCTIZATION. To PRODUCTIZE an IDEA, or a offering in development, requires clear, concise, specific answers to the following three questions:
What IS it? What does it DO? WHO does it serve?
Answer these three questions in specific detail with any IDEA you envision. This is the first step, the beginning of the math-like equation of actualizing an IDEA into an offering of value. This module will introduce you to basic PRODUCTIZATION methodology, to proficiently and effectively turn most any idea into a sellable product or service.
To actualize a thought or concept, or market a product in development, we must first describe our potential offering by its characteristics, what marketing calls its FEATURES. (LSM_Pic12) If it’s a physical product, how big is it? What color? Weight? Dimensions? What ingredients, or materials is it made of? If it’s software, what are the FUNCTIONS the software performs?
Once we’ve defined some key FEATURES of our idea, we identify BENEFITS or a SOLUTION it provides for a specific group of PEOPLE. Next, we drill down on who these people are, what they like and don’t like, where to find them, and how to reach them.
We develop the 1st draft of an ELEVATOR PITCH, so we can concisely chat up our offering. We draft a 2nd pitch, a 3rd, 4th, 5th and so on, always refining our messaging to entice, engage, and motivate an ACTION.
After we PRODUCTIZE what WE have, we search for our COMPETITION— anyone producing a similar idea to ours. We study what our competitors have, to help us define our DIFFERENTIATORS— what makes our idea different, better, than theirs. And we note our competition’s target markets and USERS, to perhaps adopt as ours down the line.
We stay ahead of competitors by employing HORIZONTAL & VERTICAL marketing models to help guide us to new TARGET MARKETS and USERS. And finally, we review PROFIT MODELS to complete the PRODUCTIZATION process of turning our idea into an offering of value, for profit.
PRODUCTIZATION is a powerful tool used to identify and effectively market your offering. But only if it is implemented IN ORDER. In this module, we examine the foundation of PRODUCTIZATION, and each of its components, using an existing product we all know.
In the following module, we’ll actualize these steps, IN ORDER, to PRODUCTIZE a Software as a Service (SaaS) application. You’ll create PRODUCTIZATION lists and charts for YOUR product or service, that you’ll use as guidance and direction in developing and marketing your offering, as well as for content for your advertising and marketing campaigns down the line.
To actualize an idea into an offering of value, that someone besides us actually wants, we begin by answering, in specific detail, the following three questions:
What IS it? What does it DO? And For WHO? (LSM_Pic13)
While this may seem rather broad, with any marketing endeavor we should start wide, and drill down to the most likely audience who will BENEFIT from the specific FEATURES of our offering.
In LSM_Pic13, we ask the three questions about our projected offering:
What IS it? Colored pencils. 240 colors. High wax content. Opaque application.
What do they DO? They draw, in radiant colors— the wax making the colors opaque, apparently.
For WHO? I’m assuming for kids, to professional-level artists.
Whether trying to realize an IDEA, or market a product or service you’ve already developed, implement the PRODUCTIZATION PROCESS with every offering you envision. Asking yourself: What IS it? What does it DO? and For WHO? will give you a framework to actualize what you conceive, and also help focus your development efforts on designing FEATURES and FUNCTIONS of your offering likely to BENEFIT specific MARKETS.
Categorize Your IDEA by Marketplace
To simplify the PRODUCTIZATION PROCESS, lets take something that we all know—a chainsaw. Why a chainsaw? Why not! (LSM_Pic14) We’ll use this chainsaw to model the steps in PRODUCTIZING any idea, or offering in development. We’ll move on to PRODUCTIZING SaaS (software) next.
Let’s answer the three key PRODUCTIZATION questions about our chainsaw in specific detail.
We begin the process of PRODUCTIZATION by categorizing our idea in the broadest of senses. Remember, MARKETING starts wide and drills down. WHAT IS IT begins broad, and first identifies the overall scope of our idea— where it fits in the marketplace of sellable items.
Is it a PRODUCT—meaning a physical object, like a new fashion line, or draft beer? Or a program that performs a function, like Photoshop or MSWord, or a virtual experience, like an ebook or online class? Though online products have no physical FEATURES, they still must be produced, unlike repackaging content as a service, like Facebook, or Twitter. A novel must be written to produce an ebook. The novel is the PRODUCT. Amazon.com selling it for your tablet is the ‘delivery’ SERVICE. (LSM_Pic15)
Is your idea a SERVICE? A human service like a mechanic, or a real estate broker, or a teacher. Perhaps your idea is software as a service— a peer-to-peer SaaS application, like Uber or AirBnB, or maybe a social media platform like Instagram or SnapChat?
Is your idea a MESSAGE, such as politics, religion, or global warming? In this first part of PRODUCTIZATION, you are simply categorizing your idea, NOT marketing branded messaging, like in an ad campaign. We’ll get to building brand awareness with messaging down the line, once PRODUCTIZATION is underway. To categorize your idea as a MESSAGE, it must fall under things like politics, a social cause, or religion.
Using this model, I’ve identified my chainsaw as a PRODUCT.
The very first step of PRODUCTIZATION is defining the category of the marketplace in which our idea fits. Is it a PRODUCT, a SERVICE, or a MESSAGE?
1. Describe the FEATURES of Your IDEA
Once we’ve established a foundation for where our idea fits in the marketplace of sellable items, we still must define what our idea, or developing product IS— literally.
WHAT IS IT?
To being the PRODUCTIZATION PROCESS, we must describe the FEATURES and FUNCTIONS of our potential offering. In other words, WHAT IS IT, is the process of defining the specific characteristics of your idea.
To illustrate this next step, let’s continue to PRODUCTIZE the chainsaw. We’ve already defined it as a PRODUCT. Next, we simply describe its FEATURES. Right now, we’re not too concerned with the benefits of this chainsaw. We’ll get to those next. For now, let’s just examine its FEATURES (LSM_Pic16)
Well, it has a powerful 10,000 rpm engine. It has really thick plastic. It has a diamond blade, and lots of fuel capacity. It shuts off automatically, and the blade can rotate forward and backwards. These are some of the FEATURES of the chainsaw, describing what this product IS.
The process of identifying FEATURES is not complicated, but often lengthy. And it’s not a one shot and done, but a continual step. You will be adding to your FEATURES list throughout the life cycle of your business. Doing so, not only helps you intimately understand your potential offering, and keep development on track, but gives you CONTENT to tout in your marketing and advertising material in the BRANDING process.
To begin the first step in the PRODUCTIZATION PROCESS, you must first define your idea’s SPACE in the MARKETPLACE, and then describe, in specific detail, the FEATURES of your idea, or offering in development.
2. Identify the BENEFITS of Your Idea
Second question: WHAT DOES IT DO?
After we’ve defined where our idea fits in the marketplace, and described some of its FEATURES, we must now identify what our idea, or offering in development, DOES. The way we do this is simply taking our FEATURES list, and translating the FEATURES of our projected offering into BENEFITS. (LSM_Pic17)
Still using our chainsaw as a model, I’ve taken the FEATURES list we just created, and transposed these characteristics of my offering into BENEFITS.
- What can a 10,000 rpm motor do? It can topple mature trees in half an hour.
- Why is ¼” thick plastic important? Because it’s lightweight and durable.
- Why does 8 hours of fuel capacity matter? The chainsaw can operate throughout the workday without stopping, saving time and money in fuel costs.
All these FEATURES of our chainsaw simply translate into some BENEFIT. And we are defining in WHAT DOES IT DO, the BENEFITS of the FEAUTURES of our offering.
Just like our FEATURES list, our BENEFITS list will give us great CONTENT for our marketing material. The more BENEFITS we can define, the easier it’ll be to sell our offering down the line. Identifying BENEFITS also helps us find the PEOPLE most likely interested in our offering. Any given product or service, or even message, will have a limited group of people likely to find utility in it. No matter what the product or service, the offering’s BENEFITS, often couched as SOLUTIONS, will not satisfy every human being on the planet. Regardless of how great our chainsaw is, only limited groups of people, likely in construction or landscaping, have any interest in chainsaws. Identifying BENEFITS helps us narrow everyone on Earth down to those most likely to find BENEFIT from the FEATURES of our offering.
Step two, in the PRODUCTIZATION PROCESS is identifying the BENEFITS or Solutions the FEATURES of your offering provide.
3. Project WHO Will Find BENEFIT in Your Offering
TARGET MARKETING is a method of identifying the people mostly likely interested in our offering or message. But it’s important to note, we are NEVER selling to MARKETS. We are ALWAYS selling to PEOPLE.
We must PRODUCTIZE our potential offering’s FEATURES, as well as the BENEFITS those FEATURES provide, before beginning the TARGET MARKETING process. We can’t possibly predict WHO our product or service is for until we know what our offering IS. Once some FEATURES and BENEFITS of our offering are defined, we project WHO will find value— a benefit or solution in the FEATURES our product or service provides.
Step three, we hypothesize, speculate, project what PEOPLE will BENEFIT from our idea, or product in development.
We begin a list of potential target markets, not exact target markets because right now we’re just projecting on who these people might be. After we’ve identified the chainsaw’s FEATURES and BENEFITS, we then consider WHO the FEATURES of our offering will benefit. (LSM_Pic18)
We start with what marketing calls the “lowest hanging fruit,” or the most likely people who will find interest in our offering. Since chainsaws are a known commodity, with others already producing similar products, our most likely TARGETS are people already using a chainsaw.
The guy on the far left is a tree removal specialist. He thought he was saving money buying the cheap chainsaw he’s using, but it’s not nearly as powerful as mine! For a nominal price difference, he could get our rippin’ fast chainsaw that would save him time to cut more trees and make more money.
Our chainsaw would definitely benefit the landscaper. He’s cutting wood with an ax, and our chainsaw would be so much faster and easier.
Then, of course, there are the Millennial vintners— the TARGETS who made money on tech stock and go up to Napa Valley to start a vineyard. They’d likely use our chainsaw, if they knew how much simpler, and more efficient it is than doing everything by hand. A smaller market, to be sure, than construction or landscaping, but, with vintners we can market to both men and women, and NITCH MARKETS get greater response.
In this process of identifying people that will BENEFIT from our chainsaw, we’ve uncovered another potential market for our idea. The single mom. She is likely young, 20s to early 30s, low to middle income, lives in a rural location. She doesn’t have a partner to cut firewood for her and her kids, and can’t afford to hire someone, so she has to do it herself. This woman can use our chainsaw because its lightweight and durable. It’s safe, and easy to use. So, we’ve identified a single woman, moderate income, likely a parent, who is yet another TARGET MARKET for our offering.
After translating FEATURES into BENEFITS, we take the BENEFITS of our offering and align them to potential USERS. This is the process of TARGET MARKETING— for WHO will the FEATURES of our idea BENEFIT? WHO will likely find value in our product, service or message?
TARGET MARKETING, like all marketing, starts broad and drills down. In this initial phase of identifying potential MARKETS— the likely customers who’ll buy our offering or into our message— we define BROAD MARKETS, like ‘moderate income, single moms.’ These broad markets have limited utility.
Remember, we are always selling to PEOPLE, not MARKETS. Identify the individuals, their specific tastes, preferences and desires, that will likely find utility in your offering, for the greatest return on your marketing investment. These are the PEOPLE you want to reach, and engage with your advertising and marketing efforts, as they are most likely to purchase, or buy into your message. We’ll closely examine how to find your target USERS in Module 8: Personalized Target Marketing.
Step three, in this initial phase of the PRODUCTIZATION PROCESS, is identifying the MARKETS and PEOPLE who will likely BENEFITS from the FEATURES of your projected offering.
MODULE 2—PRODUCTIZATION 101 REVIEW
• To PRODUCTIZE an idea, or offering in development, we begin by giving clear, concise, and specific answers to the following three questions:
What IS it? What does it DO? And for WHO?
• First, we defining our idea by the CATAGORY in the marketplace of sellable items in which our potential offering fits. Is it a Product, a Service, or Message?
• Once we’ve defined it’s space in the marketplace, we must describe what it DOES— our idea’s FEATURES, in software often referred to as FUNCTIONS.
• When we have a lengthy list of the FEATURES of our idea, we translate them into BENEFITS or Solutions that the FEATURES of our potential offering provide.
• And finally, we project WHO—the potential MARKETS and PEOPLE, in software called USERS, that will benefit from the features of our upcoming offering.
The PRODUCTIZATION PROCESS lets us actualize our ideas with a simple step-by-step method, that helps guide us to create products and services that serve a purpose, and will likely have value for some people. Actualizing a product, service, or message—GETTING READY to market your potential offering—always begins with PRODUCTIZATION.
Get Organize Before Beginning Your Startup Journey
“Every minute spent organizing an hour is earned,” Benjamin Franklin said.
To actualize an idea into a product or service, and maybe even a company from the ground up, requires an integrated series of steps, that begin with ORGANIZATION. Lean Startup Marketing Online is designed to help you LAUNCH an offering directly, or a startup, with the first product of many to come.
Simply follow the steps of RAF Marketing Method as they are sequentially introduced in each module. Complete each assignment, using the pictures as checklists to build a portfolio of effective advertising and marketing material.
It’s time for you to begin YOUR journey of actualizing an idea, or product in development, into a marketable offering of value, for profit. And if you’re wise, like our inventor friend, Ben Franklin, you’ll begin by getting organized!