What's in your wake?
Does your product or service support plug-ins and add-ons? Does it lend itself to follow-on products, accessories, support and training, etc.? Does it inspire others to be part of your wake?
Whoever competes with the iPod has to compete with a lot more than Apple's device--it has to compete with this great wall of stuff riding in the iPod wake. And these things all make the iPod a lot more appealing and flexible.
Inspiring a wake--where passionate people add value to your product or service with new things--is one of the fabulous side-effects of having passionate users. And your chances of creating passionate users just keeps going up the larger the wake gets. So it's a great big happy reinforcing feedback loop.
Some marketing folks have talked about user-created ads, but if you let users enhance what you offer, by adding more features or even just by creating cool fan t-shirts, you're much further up the passionate users curve.
Are there ways in which you can encourage others to add value to your product? If it's software, do you have an API that supports plug-ins? Do you encourage others (even if it means no direct revenue for you) to provide training and support? Are people likely to write books about it? (More books on the shelf about your product=more visibility for your product, and more chances that someone will have a successful experience with it.) How many new businesses were started by users who liked something so much, the decided to start their own business around it. So what are you doing to help others build in your wake? Being closed, or trying to keep others from capitalizing on what you provide (in other words, trying to keep the wake for yourself), is a bad idea.
The more interesting and valuable your wake is, the more likely it is that you'll create more passionate users. And the more passionate users you have, the more likely it is that your wake will grow.
Posted by Kathy on March 8, 2005 | Permalink
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Tracked on Mar 17, 2005 2:29:51 PM
Hey Kathy, what a great post and very true. Now, I need to figure out how a non-product offering creates this wake effect. My company is an enabler of products and other than something like "Intel Inside", not sure what an enabler wake will look like....any thoughts? Will have to kick this around in my head....thanks
Posted by: jbr | Mar 9, 2005 10:17:47 AM
Services create wake effects by enabling others to create useful products services based on your customer's state being served by you.
If I help train you on how to cook better, not only do I enable you to buy stuff to support your new cooking habit, but you may also enjoy different culinary websites -- say recipe a day or cakes from heaven -- that before were above your ability; or simply uninteresting because you weren't an enthralled user.
Posted by: Orion Adrian | May 17, 2007 2:52:47 PM
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