Pain = Profit

If you want great products, start with customer pain.  It’s that simple.

If you fully understand your customer’s pain, you can find ways to solve or reduce that pain in a profitable way.

I’ve seen too many businesses that start out with the features of their products and the great way they do business.  All of these companies talk about themselves as if people should care.  “we’re so great because blah blah blah.”  Nobody cares.

Nobody cares how much you know until they know that you care.  – Theodore Roosevelt

Let’s rephrase that for use as a business:

Nobody cares about your business or brand if there’s nothing in it for them. – Nate Kaemingk

If you can’t start out your message by describing a specific customer pain point in a way that evokes emotion, nobody will care. Show me that you care about my pain and can solve it.  Then I might care about the rest of the stuff you hang around it.

Quantify Customer Pain

Price is a great way to quantify pain.  Another way to do it is with Value Drivers, which is a key input into pricing.  Value Drivers are a monetary quantification of how much time, money, and effort your customer spends on and in the space your product is designed to exist.

If you truly understand your customer pain, you’ll be able to quantify exactly what it’s worth to your customers.

If you know that your customers have three pain points, and can tell the story for all three, that’s great.  But until you can quantify it, you’d never know that customers will pay ten times more for a solution to the first pain point than the second and third.  You can make some money solving the lower priority pain points, but you can make way more money solving the largest pain points.  And have happier customers at the same time.

Product Follows Pain

If you know customer pain and have taken yourself to the next level by quantifying that pain, you should broadcast that pain like it’s your company tagline.  That enables your entire organization to understand the priorities and self-organize themselves around it.

Once you’ve quantified customer pain it completely changes your product development.  You can prioritize features based on cost-to-value, you can tell the story with real numbers, and you can build in quality where the customer finds the most value.

Marketing Follows Pain

If you have truly quantified your customer pain you won’t talk about features, you’ll talk about benefits to the customer.

Which is more appealing?:

Features description: My widget has green and blue colors, has the best data tracking features, and integrates with your social media to let your friends know how you slept.

Benefit description: My widget helps you get 20% more effective sleep, which translates into being more alert and wasting less time “recharging” between high potential tasks.

Talking about features is like talking about yourself. Talking about benefits lets the customer know you actually care about them enough to understand their problems and pain. It also takes their mental energy away from trying to understand how the features benefit them and switches their thoughts towards how much better life will be with the benefits of your product.

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