For almost the past four years now, I’ve been writing a pseudonymous blog that primarily follows the emerging/missional church, but even there I occasionally touch on topics relevant to marketing and (for lack of a better description) “Cluetrain” thinking. I have a post or two about Starbuck’s that might be the culprit, or it might be the quip I sometimes use with reference to products or services that I tend to call “a perfect solution to a problem nobody has.” Whatever the inspiration, I somehow made it onto the authors’ list of people who helped inspire or inform their thinking as they describe what they call the “Tuned-In Process” through their book, Tuned In: Uncover the Extraordinary Opportunities That Lead to Business Breakthroughs (USA Link) by Phil Myers, Craig Stull, and David Meerman Scott. I discovered the link-back to my blog and read their offer to anyone on the list to provide them with a free copy of the book. I was curious about what they were saying and how I might fit in, so naturally I took them up on the offer.
I really don’t know how I ended up in the company of such luminaries as Seth Godin, Guy Kawasaki, Joel Spolsky, John Jantsch, John Moore, Garr Reynolds, and others… but there I am. However I got there, it seems that the aforementioned quip might be a close connection, as the main thesis of the book seems to be the need to do market research (i.e., talk to your clients and potential customers) before doing product development. I thought this was much more obvious than it would appear to be, as they cite examples of what they call “tuned-out” behaviour evidencing product development that must have preceded market research. Remember LG’s Internet refrigerator? What burning problem did that solve, and were the features so compelling that one would gladly shell out $8,000 to have one? I think not. They also offer examples of products that are “resonators” â€” ones which the market takes to quickly â€” typically because the market research was done in advance.
Remember Rule 1, “markets are conversations.”
Zipcar is an example (cited several times in the book) of a company that exhibited “tuned-in” behaviour in the development of their product. The founders did market research and talked to their potential customers in order to ensure that the product resonated when it eventually debuted â€” and it was a success. Conversely, car rental companies like Avis should have been serving this particular market but didn’t, essentially because they were “tuned out.”
The authors outline a six-step process for creating a product that is a resonator, so that by following the program, one can avoid the cost of creating and marketing a product that, as I’ve said before, is the perfect solution to a problem nobody has. The book website and blog (as well as the book, of course) summarizes the steps which the book develops further. The authors also do seminars teaching the process (which became the book), and the blog includes further examples of in/out behaviour. David Meerman Scott, one of the authors, keeps a blog of his own as well for good measure.
In any event, the post by which I found the book says to the list of us, “thanks for your help in creating our book,” so I guess I should say, “You’re welcome â€” glad to be of service.”