Dan Naden

Are you ready for your most important go-to-market strategy?

I remember that nervous, yet exciting first drive home from the hospital with our tiny, precious daughter.

Every turn was cautious. Speed limit signs didn’t register. Everyone else was a crazy, mixed up driver. We would drive slower than a turtle to protect our daughter from the massive, fast, hectic world.

As we approached our home (the 3 mile drive nearly took 3 hours), my wife and I felt overjoyed with love, yet a question began to echo louder in our heads: Now what?

Don't lose sight of your most important 'launch'.
Don’t lose sight of your most important ‘launch’.

In my view, fatherhood is readying our son or daughter for life outside of home. Yes, you’ve have laughs, incredible highs, rock bottom lows, sorrow, excitement along the way, but it all leads up to those final emotional moments. Enjoy the journey, but the road will end, and hopefully, your son or daughter takes the wheel with confidence.

It’s tough to picture it now, but there will be a day when our son or daughter leaves our home and navigates the rhythms of life: a new job, dating, grocery shopping, bill paying, a home purchase.

As a product marketer for much of my career and a proud Dad, I’ve seen some parallels between bringing a product to market and getting a child ready for life.

Don’t have kids? Don’t want kids? Maybe you have a young cousin or friend that needs a helping hand or encouraging boost? Or maybe you are just curious? Read on for the tips and tricks.

1. What are you selling?
If you are selling a business information service, you have to decide what exactly are you selling. How is what you are selling different than everyone else’s? What’s unique about your product or service that will separate you from your many competitors? If you don’t have a way to stand out from the pack, you’ll be considered a commodity that lacks true value. Get insanely focused on how your value is second-to-none.

As a parent, you certainly can’t think of raising a child as ‘selling’ anything, but, let’s keep the metaphor from falling apart.

I am selling a responsible, accountable, active, courageous young person to the world. Despite my best intentions, my son or daughter falls short of these ideals more often than I’d like to admit.

But I’ll never give up on coaching, guiding and leading him/her towards understanding the upside of being responsible, accountable, courageous leaders.

2. Who will buy what you are selling?
Selling a business information service might seem to be easy pickings for a marketer. Who doesn’t want reliable, accurate, timely business information collected by a team of dedicated researchers and experts? It’s vitally important, however, to understand the characteristics of your most successful customers. Who are they? What industries do they comprise? Narrowing down to a target market or markets will bring a refined focus to your messaging, positioning and packaging. Suddenly, you’ll go from broadcasting your message to the masses to narrowcasting your message to a group of exclusive categories that will have a propensity to buy.

As a Dad, you must guide your son or daughter to not fall prey to every whim or temptation that crosses his/her path. It’s a cruel lesson for a young mind to grasp, but there are consequences for misbehavior. A child who doesn’t grasp the nuance between right and wrong is going to swim against a steady current in the game of life. It’s up to every individual family to decide, but in our home, we have a strict set of rules to follow. As tough as it can be to get a young, frenzied mind to focus, it’s a beautiful thing to see your children understand how to act by the examples of a parent, friend, colleague.

Just as a product benefits from a razor-sharp focus on a particular market segment, a child will blossom when he see a specific model (hopefully a responsible, accountable, courageous example) of how he should be when he grows up.

When the lump in your throat appears before that magnificent, critical product launch, make sure you’ve done all you can to increase your odds of success.

When you pull away from the hospital with your infant strapped in for dear life, you might think you’re not ready for the rest of the story. Have faith that you’ll do all you can to launch your child into a meaningful, fulfilling, joyous life. You’ll never be involved in a more critical product release — your child’s future.

Until next time,

Dan Naden

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