If only I could get paid for answering the question, “How can I get people to evangelize my product?” I would be able to stop working and play hockey every day. Alas, there is no way to get paid for this information, so I give it to you for free.
The short answer is called “Guy’s Golden Touch.” You might think this means, “Whatever Guy touches turns to gold.” If only this were true. The actual definition is, “Whatever is gold, Guy touches.”
Bookmark this: The key to evangelism is a great product. It is easy, almost unavoidable, to catalyze evangelism for a great product. It is hard, almost impossible, to catalyze evangelism for crap. (Evangelism, after all, comes from the Greek word for “bringing the good news,” not “the crappy news.”)
This is a duhism if I’ve ever heard one: “I guess we should create a great product.” Duh! As opposed to a crappy one? The salient question, however, becomes, “What are the characteristics of a great product?” Here is the answer.
- Deep. A great product is deep. It doesn’t run out of features and functionality after a few weeks of use. Its creators have anticipated what you’ll need once you come up to speed. As your demands get more sophisticated, you discover that you don’t need a different product.
- Indulgent. A great product is a luxury. It makes you feel special when you buy it. It’s not the least common denominator, cheapest solution in sight. It’s not necessarily flashy in a Ferrari kind of way, but deep down inside you know you’ve rewarded yourself when you buy a great product.
- Complete. A great product is more than a physical thing. Documentation counts. Customer service counts. Tech support counts. Consultants, OEMS, third-party developers, and VARS count. Blogs about it counts. A great product has a great total user experience—sometimes despite the company that produces it.
- Elegant. A great product has an elegant user interface. Things work the way you’d think they would. A great product doesn’t fight you—it enhances you. (For all of Microsoft’s great success this is why it’s hard to name a Microsoft product that you’d call “great.”) I could make the point that if you want to see if a company’s products are elegant, you need only look at its chairman’s presentations.
- Emotive. A great product incites you to action. It is so deep, indulgent, complete, and elegant that it compels you to tell other people about it. You’re not necessarily an employee or shareholder of the company that produces it. You’re bringing the good news to help others, not yourself.
If you want a smashing example of DICEE product, you need not look any further than iPod. Deep: thousands of songs, podcasts, and recently video plus third-party add-ons that have added functionality Apple never anticipated. Indulgent: yes, you could buy a cheaper MP3 player, but that’s not the point, is it? Complete: total integration with online buying, Apple’s support (other than a battery or two), and online support by independent web sites. Elegant: One wheel does it all, right? Emotive: How did you first find out about it?
So if you want raging, inexorable thunderlizard evangelists for your product, make sure it’s DICEE.
Written at Ilikai Hotel, Honolulu, Hawaii