Understanding a Single Version Product
Whether Henry Ford actually said, “You can paint it any color, so long as it’s black,” it underscores Ford’s success at building for a mass market. He brought together an acceptable combination of consistent quality, price, and reliability to sell 15,000,000 Model-T automobiles.
It might seem that all we need to do is find our own “Model-T” and get it to the mass market. Some companies are trying to do that. The companies that succeed understand that no product can serve a mass market in the 21st century quite the way products once did.
If you’re marketing a Model-T — a single version product — in this century, here’s how to do it in the 21st Century.
- Build a “Model-T” with easy to communicate benefits, such as low price and reliability.
- Identify a clearly defined key customer group who value for those key benefits and use them for buying criteria.
- Study the products that this group currently buys. Identify the features those products have in common. Look beyond the features to the benefits that each feature offers.
- Build relationships with the “Model-T” customer group mavens — folks who offer friends detailed advice on buying products that might compete with your “Model-T.” Get to know customer evangelists for the products that the key group is currently buying.
- Ensure your “Model-T” product includes all of the features that key customers value and none they have no use for.
- Offer it at a competitive price that requires no negotiation. Negotiate takes time and thinking.
- Provide fast delivery and excellent service.
- Allow consumers to personalize it. Make product modification easy and friendly. Offer mod kits and merchandise add-ons that lets folks feel part of a “Model-T” club for owning the product.
- Take care with new product versions that you don’t revise out the values that developed the customer base that you’re enjoying.
- Consider an exclusive brick and mortar presence and a huge online selling model. A consistent product with a simple sales story works well in an online situation. Check whether direct mail is also viable for your “Model-T.”
A single version product that fits its customers perfectly can make a new market happen. The “Model-T” model still has a place in the 21st century.
Take for example the Kindle.
What products might you call the “Model-T” of the 21st Century?
–ME “Liz” Strauss
Work with Liz on your business!!