John Jago

Where product marketing falls short

If you want to start a podcast today, you’ll need a way to get your show to the many places where people listen to podcasts. Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, and at least 10 others. Sounds like a tough job, right?

No worries—there are just as many platforms for distributing your podcast!

Where do you start?

Transistor, Libsyn, Anchor, Podbean, and Buzzsprout are just a few.

If you’re like most people, you would glance through their websites and see what they offer. Sometimes it’s easy to tell which ones are older, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re worse. You get an impression from the way things are worded, from the visuals, from the descriptions of each feature. You might already know what you want, and you watch a video or two to understand if the product fits your needs, but hopefully that product is showcasing its features well, otherwise you won’t even know that what you want is there!

However, marketing materials fail to capture the nuance of actually using a product. They especially fail to capture what’s bad about a product, which I’ll forgive. Who’d want to promote all the flaws?

For example, I’m writing this blog post in an app called Nota. I wanted to find and replace something, so I found this action in the menu, but to my surprise, clicking on it shows a pop up saying the feature is not yet implemented! I certainly didn’t see that on the home page of the website. Likewise, the writing apps I tried before this one, based on how the websites presented them, all turned out to be not as I’d hoped. It was never quite the writing experience I was looking for, but Nota is. After using each of the writing apps, I have an intuition for which one is a better product for writing blog posts in Markdown. As I write more, my needs may change and this one may not be a good fit anymore, but I’ll know which of the previous ones I could go back to.

This not only applies to digital products, but physical ones as well. A pair of pants may look good on store shelves or in a magazine, but after wearing them for a week, you’ll really know if it’s what you were looking for.

This is why I like trying things on in the store. When ordering from the internet, you just have to click and pray.

Perhaps more digital products should have fully interactive previews right on their website.

Perhaps more should list out when you shouldn’t use it, and what are all the bad things about it.

I know, it’s counter to everything you learned in marketing school, but if I came across a digital product that had a fully interactive preview and a description of when it’s not a good fit, and what its weaknesses are, I’d respect it so much that I probably would give it a try, refreshed that I wasn’t bombarded with marketing speak and a disappointing experience.