When I joined The Foundation a few years ago and built a recurring income business for myself, one of the most profound lessons were the ones on marketing. I had minored in psychology in college but mostly we applied it to industrial settings, in the world of work and on design of work and things. Business lessons from The Foundation opened my mind to not just using psycho-logical principles to designing things for just one person but also how the design of things need to include the context too.
Truth be told, I did have a bit of this understanding from the theories I learned in university and applied in the first few years on the job as a human factors engineer, but it wasn’t ingrained in me until I had to really apply it to selling and marketing products.
My favourite lesson is summed up in this image:
We often think that the flower (or mushroom) ingested by Mario is the thing you’re producing (well it is, but it isn’t). In (some) realities, the product itself is only as good as the benefits it bestows. And marketing a product solely on its “features” and “functionality” alone is only going to take you so far. In the very least, the product needs both the rational side of making it useful but also to know the limits that usefulness in and of itself is only half the story. The rest of the story is if it can be useful and people also think that it is so. Far better to espouse how it can make your users/customers/clients super.
I keep forgetting this concept at times but this picture helps me realign to what we are trying to do as product managers.
*Note: this is not to say that there are situations where it’s counterintuitive that less promotion of the benefits can make the product sell even better. But test it in those cases.