Parent-Marketers – Although you may not have all of the free time and freedom the non-child-having marketers out there do, you have advantages they do not.
I have only been a father only two years now, but what I’ve learned from this experience has changed how I operate in my marketing roles in more ways than one…
Successful product marketing, like successful parenting, involves one part empathy, one part patience and 50 parts learning from your mistakes. Good marketers spend 4X the effort in the processes of empathizing, analyzing and strategizing than the actual execution of any campaign. You have to be a keen observer of everything your customers do and say before, during and after purchase/download/registration etc…
“…You must match the way you market your products with the way your prospects learn about and shop for your products.” — Brian Halligan
My daughter has given me endless more insight and ability in my career, and here’s how:
Lesson 1: When It’s Not “Product-Market” Fit
What my daughter wants once, isn’t always what she’ll want twice. Her taste buds, her preferences, what entertains her… all change so quickly. I have freezer full of a meal she loved two weeks ago that she hasn’t touched since.
Product-market fit qualifiers should be looked at with the same hesitation I now use before betting on what my daughter will like too far in advance. Founders make this mistake constantly, and it’s an expensive one. Giving your market a sample of your product/service in one particular environment at one time, and getting great feedback, does not mean you have product-market fit. Instead, use larger datasets of multiple periods and the predicting indicators below to determine PMF:
- An increasing traffic-to-demo form submission conversion rate, and/or your meeting requests-to-meetings won rate
- Customer Acquisition Costs (CAC) are trending down
- Churn Rate
- Monthly Active User’s (MAU)
- Net Promoter Score (NPS)
More on finding PMF – read this article.
Lesson 2: Write Simple Copy
The process of writing copy, especially when you are very close to the product, can become a convoluted mess. Marketers will use too many words, and copywriters can be too vague or even purposefully-mysterious.
What you need to do to write copy that converts is act as if you are presenting your product to a toddler.
A perfect example of this are those long-form product sales pages you find if on the other side of Facebook ads. You read the copy and wonder “how can this convert?” The copy is almost idiotically simple. But, it works.
A toddler will force your to be clear, concise and explicit in your pitch:
- Your ad, blog and landing page headlines are not titles for a fiction novel. Your goal should be to educate and generate quality conversions, not to mislead and generating bounced clicks.
- Trying to be too witty or amusing with your headlines will not only confuse people, but can annoy them as all they want is to know what they are buying or signing up for.
Lesson 3: Choosing New Uses Over New Features
One aspect of fatherhood that has started to get expensive is my daughters affinity for shinny new toys. She get’s bored easily with the toys she has, so the lifecycle of a new toy is down to around 10 days at this point.
The solution I’ve found for avoiding this situation plays a part in a dilemma I’ve faced with almost every product I’ve marketed.
Do you create new features to market? Or, do you get creative with marketing the features it has?
What I will do is take the toy my daughter seems to have forgotten, and show her a new use for it. A good example is this expensive doll she use to love. I found it’s waterproof, so I took this small towel/robe off of another toy and a small floaty from another toy, and took it into the bath with her. Now it’s “bath time baby” to her and she wants it in there every time she takes a bath.
How you practice this in marketing involves some research into one routine your target audience executes often – specifically one where your product can be a value-add to. Then, put together a funnel that highlights that specific use case, a few testimonials of customers using it for that particular purpose, as well as a video of it being used as such. This will show your target audience a much more tangible representation of your product, and they’ll be more inclined to use it.
*Further, being creative with uses of your product keeps you away from becoming feature-happy, or thinking that adding features will get you more customers.
Lesson 4: Patience and Sticking To My Plan
Toddlers will test your patience constantly. My daughter see’s the look of urgency on my face as the signal to do something she know’s will frustrate me (and then laughs about it). I believe this trait in toddlers is the universe’s way of telling parents to chill out. Instead of allowing frustration and anger to creep up, I keep calm with the knowledge that she’s only two, and I’m still the one in charge.
In parenthood, everything slows waaayyy down. I can’t rush due to huge consequences. I don’t have the freedom to start later, do things on a whim, or attempt to hurry during my time with her. I have to wake up earlier, organize the night before, have had to exchange my need to rush and get there first or on time with a more relaxed frame of mind. This has been a struggle for me if I’m honest. Specifically in dealing with approval processes, delayed work from agencies or contractors, and long engineering or design timelines. But, fatherhood has taught me not to focus on any of the things I cannot control or speed up. Instead, I have learned to:
- Better focus my energy on the things I am in control of.
- Hope for the best, but always plan for the worst.
- Have all of the details about everything ahead of time.
- Just roll with it because uncertainty is the only guarantee.
The takeaway for marketers is, don’t get frustrated when things aren’t falling into place. Stick to your strategy and stay confident.
Lesson 5: Keep Every Promise
When my daughter was one, her mother and I would find ourselves promising a treat to do things like finish her food or stop crying. This is common as it’s often our only weapon in these circumstances. But we can’t always give her the treats because that would just be bad for her. So we end up distracting her until she forgets.
As my daughter grew, so did her ability to her memory. She now calls me on every promise. Those months I promised a reward without delivering caused her to second-guess any further promises I made, or simply ignore them entirely. Crying wolf is the old adage. It applies to all facets of life.
In marketing, you are constantly having to make promises.
It does you and your team a disservice to make promises you are not certain you can deliver on.
The very best managers of marketing budgets make sure never to over promise and under deliver. Doing this often or even at all can cause your executives or board to deem your projects as inflated and more than likely start looking for your replacement. I’ve learned to keep my promises. This is a valuable character trait all team members should have, especially in startup cultures. Never over promise and under deliver.
Happy fathers day to all the dad marketers out there! I hope this helps you realize that although you may not have all of the free time and freedom the non-father marketers out there have, you have an advantage they don’t.
For some precise tips, please schedule a call with me here.