Make your customer a badass

This is one of the more useful ideas I have ever stolen.

It’s a clever way to make sure your messaging is pointed in the right direction.

And more cosmically, this notion can help you clarify what business you’re in, exactly. Which I tend to forget myself.

This gem of an idea comes from Kathy Sierra, an innovative software trainer and usability crusader

Her refrain: “Users don’t fall in love with your software because of its elegant feature set.”

“They fall in love with your stuff because it lets them do amazing things, dazzle their colleagues, become masters of the universe.”

“Make them feel ‘Damn, I’m good’. They will be yours for life.”

She’s right. This is an ingenious strategy. (It doesn’t work everywhere, for everything. But damn near.)

Let’s say you’re marketing cookware. It is high end, three-ply, non-stick, and meticulously crafted.

Do you talk about superior scratch resistance, more even heating, and durability? Do you mention your old-world craftsmen?

Or do you conjure images of a newbie cook turning out a delicately-crusted Potatoes Anna to the applause of dinner guests? (Without flopping the thing onto the floor.)

Maybe you’re in the business of concrete additives. Your competitors talk all day about the quality and properties of their additives.

You, instead, see your mission as creating the smartest, can-do concrete formulators on the planet. You are enabling wizardry and genius. You win converts.

Or let’s say you develop predictive analytics tools. Your target verticals are insurance and financial services.

Do you want to be the company with the most sophisticated tools and most ingenious machine learning algorithms? Is that what you need to talk about?

Or, do you want to be the company that helps unassuming but eager underwriters and actuaries transform into fearless badasses with X-ray vision, who can spot trends or trouble that no mortal would see in a million years.

Do you want them thinking, ‘This is a highly capable suite of tools with great flexibility”?

Or do you want them thinking “We can rack some serious points with this thing, run rings around those dopes in Denver.”

I say shoot for ‘badass’. It’s the better bet.

You’re not in the predictive analytics business. You’re in the business of helping actuaries leap tall buildings, kick some butt, earn kudos from the CFO. You are about career acceleration for actuaries.

But the tricky part is, it won’t work to say any of this directly.

You can’t promise, “Be admired by peers. Find career fulfillment. Vindicate yourself.”

You have do it all with subtext. It has to come wafting out of what you say, unspoken, but unmistakable.

(Which is how we uncommonly skillful and perceptive writers earn our exorbitant fees, being badasses ourselves)

What counts is what they hear.