What a Product Doesn’t Say

The next time you are watching TV, pay close attention when the commercials start to roll. Advertising is generally dependent on the viewer having their brain switched off and not thinking critically about whatever they are hawking, which makes for an interesting game. I’ll begin with the car dealership ads, because they’re the easiest example of the “black hole effect.”

“C’mon down to James Hofpare Chevy, where we discount trucks! We move more trucks than anybody, and if I can’t beat their deal on a new Chevy, I’ll give you $200!!!”

What are they not saying about the product? Well first off, nothing about quality. Certainly nothing about customer service.

“Sweet, Vonage! …One smart decision amoung many, many stupid ones.”

Like paying for traditional phone service? Way to call 99.999% of your potential customers stupid!

“BMW…The Ultimate Driving Machine”

It may be, but what about the price?

The point for Product Managers is it’s not enough to enumerate what your product does – you have to know what message you are implicitly sending by what you don’t say and the features you don’t include.
Even worse is trying to cover all the bases and have “The highest quality, lowest priced, easiest to use, best customer service, most unique, safest product on the market!” Customers are smart enough to understand tradeoffs, and we PM’s and Marketers it’s a tough road to hoe with a best/cheapest message. Laser focus – choose one and win!

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