I’ll never forget it. This was the best product overview / demo I’ve ever been given. I paid twice as much as I intended and couldn’t have been happier.
The moral of the story…product positioning is 80% buyer, 20% product.
Before business backpacks were a thing, I was in the market for a new laptop bag. I go into a boutique luggage shop and tell the salesperson that I’m on the road every week and need a new bag for my laptop.
She walks across the store and comes back with what I now know was probably the most expensive bag in the store and sets it on the counter.
Here comes the pitch. “If you travel a lot, you’ll love this bag. It takes a lot of stresses out of your travel routine.”
What followed was a series of (stressful) travel scenarios I encounter just about every week, not a technical explanation of the bag and its features.
- Let’s say you’re going through airport security and your carry-on bag gets pulled for a second screening.
- A lot of people have the exact same laptops. What if you picked up someone else’s laptop off the conveyor or they picked up yours?
- Your meetings run late and you have to run down the concourse to board your plane before the door closes.
- You get home on a late flight and you’re fumbling around in a dark parking deck trying to find your car keys.
- Your dog thinks this bag is a new chew toy!
- You have to make a last-minute overnight trip.
There were a few others, but you get the point! The salesperson walked me through my travel routine so well it was uncanny. Either she was a stalker, or she just knew her target customers well. I’m certain it was the latter!
Here’s the thing. I wasn’t even thinking about the stress of my travel routine or any of those scenarios until the salesperson reminded me. As she walked me through each scenario, I felt the stress. Then she pointed out a feature or two that relieved the stress.
If you’re a product manager reading this article, listen up. I’m 100% convinced the positioning of this bag wasn’t just the result of good product marketing. It started in product management.
These scenarios were created with business travelers in mind long before this bag was ever designed or built. The implementation of the features was too well done to be a coincidence.
That’s what made the positioning so easy and why the bag is so valuable to frequent business travelers that they pay a significant premium.
I’ve told this story to many of my students over the years and the job of product marketing for this luggage manufacturer was done exactly like it was supposed to.
Several of my students over the years said they had the same experience when buying the same bag in a completely different city. This couldn’t be anything but the result of good product marketing. Mobilizing a consistent value message across the sales channels and making it easy to tell the story.
Product marketers and sales engineers, you can use the same technique to reverse engineer your positioning and demos. It clearly works! If you want to learn how to do it, check out our School of Product Marketing and our School of Product Demos.
Product managers, forget about your products for a minute and just be the user! Create these scenarios long before you think about the product and the features you need will be easier to define, build and deliver.
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Your product marketers and salespeople will love you for it and your product will be far more successful! If you want to learn how to do it before you build the product, check out our School of Product Management.
by John Mansour on July 6, 2022.