For decades, seat belts, with their "killer" value proposition (pun intended), struggled for mass adoption. If a product with such a great value proposition struggled for so long, how can you get your product / service to "break through" and be the next big thing as quickly as possible?
It seems that some people choose to not wear their seat belts for varying reasons. "It's just a short trip." (FYI, 75% of most fatal or injury-causing accidents happen within 25 miles of your home). "It's uncomfortable." Okay, for some that might be true. For some, I think it's just laziness. I've talked about that before -- some people just choose to "do nothing" rather than buy or use your product or service (even if it's free and could save your life!).
So, if you are creating your new Internet company and say "It's free, everyone will use it!" Just think "Seat belts are free, can save your life, and it took 60+ years, new law, and hundreds of millions of advertising dollars to get to an 80% level of adoption." How are YOU going to do better than that?
I've been meeting with a lot of entrepreneurs and early stage companies lately who ask me to look at their business and give my thoughts on how compelling I find their value proposition. They are taking to heart the advice I gave in this post about creating an extremely compelling value proposition.
When I hear entrepreneurs say "I think my value proposition is awesome! Everyone will want to use it!" I come back with "Just like seat belts?" Then I go on to explain...
What's the value proposition of a seat belt? And, do you find the value proposition extremely compelling?
- In the event of a car accident, it will most likely save your life! IMHO, that's pretty darn compelling!
- The cost to use the product: Nothing!
- Distribution / reach: 100%
- Difficulty in using (user interface): No difficulty
- The US adoption rate today is around 80%. About 10 years ago, US adoption was only around 58%.
- There are some really great statistics about seat belts. Give them a read. I bet you'll be surprised.
- By law, you now must wear them, unless you are driving through New Hampshire where I guess the laws of physics don't apply. So adoption was driven by acts of law and changing consumer behavior (which is very hard and very expensive).
Now, if the seat belt, with its extremely compelling value proposition (possibly the ultimate value proposition), has problems with adoption, how can you make YOUR product / idea / service have great adoption? Really challenge yourself to think outside the box on how compelling you can make your idea. Layer into your extremely compelling value proposition a few extra ingredients. And, most importantly, align the ingredients of your value proposition with what really motivates your target customer to buy or use your product or service!
What's the motivation to use a seat belt? Is it sexy? Not particularly. Is it exciting? Not really. Will you make more money or save money? No. Will the benefit be immediate? Maybe or maybe not. Most people don't really think they will be in an accident so there is no near-term benefit. And, maybe that is the problem. There is no "instant gratification" (that is, until the accident occurs).
In my next blog post, I'll go over that list of ingredients that I use on my work, and when meeting with entrepreneurs, to align a value proposition with what seems to really motivate people.