Naomi came to the party dressed as slut; but it wasn't working. Plus, she was cold. Most of the other guests wouldn’t even hold eye contact with her. Only the drunks came to talk to her, and so far, none of them had been able to hold a conversation. Even the women were avoiding her. The guy who brought her was deep in conversation with Snow White. This wasn’t working out.This is the second in a series of posts for product managers seeking relationships. Go to the first.
Your customers are your partners.
First rule of Attraction: be in the right place at the right time. All things being equal, you will be more compellingly attractive to a prospective partner when you are standing within grasp in front of them than, say, away doing charity work in Mali. As the song says, "you gotta love the one you're with".
Where you should be, exactly, depends on who you are trying to attract. The first step towards long-term rewarding relationships involves careful thinking about the type of partner you are looking for.
Do you have a specific type of partner in mind? …Or will you solicit anyone and everyone? The latter may seem like your only choice if what you have to offer is cheap and not much different from what others have to offer. (In some parts of Australia, this latter approach is known as "the town bike.") But an unfocussed approach is usually counter-productive over time. You will work hard, with little to hold on to after each exchange. Expect high rates of turnover and churn. The big numbers may impress your competitors and colleagues, but you won't be any better off. No one is going to get engaged.
Many entrepreneurs thrive happily in high-churn markets; however, relationships you develop with your partners in such an environment will be superficial and fleeting, leaving you vulnerable to new entrants. Don't expect loyalty from your partners when the next attractive new kid shows up on the block.
If you do find yourself unhappily moving constantly between high traffic venues in search of new partners, then don't despair. You can change your situation. Take a step back from the daily beat and think about your partners. Do some of them have specialized needs that are not well served by your competitors? Partners with particular desires will value your specialized attention more highly, and you will have fewer competitors. Perhaps you could focus on them. These partners will be looking for someone like you.
In marketing speak: better segmentation leads to better penetration.
next post: promiscuity
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