Product Managers Need To Learn To Use Ads Carefully

by drjim on July 13, 2015

Product Managers Have To Be Careful In How They Use Ads For Their Product

Product Managers Have To Be Careful In How They Use Ads For Their ProductImage Credit: Stefano Fulgoni

If the product that you are responsible for is going to be successful, then you are going to have to find ways to get your potential customers to notice it. One way to go about doing this is to create ads that work with your product development definition and talk about your product and the problems that it solves. Ads can be a powerful communication tool for product managers; however, they can also end up pushing our potential customers too hard. What is the right way to use an ad?

When An Ad Pushes Too Hard

Let’s face it – ads cost money. As product managers we want to make sure that we get the most value out of any ads that we take the time to create and place. What this means is that it is very important to us that our ads work for us – we want them to grab our potential customer’s attention and convince them to buy our product. If you can figure out how to do this, then you’ll have something else to add to your product manager resume.

What this means is that we’re going to have to make sure that we select the right message for the ad to have. One common message that a lot of product managers like to use no matter what your product is involves the idea of “belonging”. What we tell our potential customers is that if they want to be cool / smart / quick / good looking, etc. they will select our product.

However, there is a danger in doing this. When we tell our potential customers that they have to do something that involves our product, then what we are doing is eliminating their ability to make the choice themselves. Researchers who study things like this have discovered that this is exactly what people don’t like and it may cause potential customers to push back and not purchase your product.

The Right Touch

If pushing too hard to get potential customers to select our product is the wrong way to go about doing things, then what is the right way? Once again we can turn to the ad researches to discover what the right way to use an ad is. The researchers have performed tests where ads with a forceful message, a mild message, and no message at all were used.

What they found is that if your potential customers have been primed to believe that they are someone who needs what your product offers then they’ll react to your ads differently. Knowing that they have a need, the heavy handed ad will turn them off – they’ll feel like they are being forced to choose your product. They are not going to like this because your potential customers want the sense of freedom that comes along with their ability to make up their own minds.

Instead of making your potential customers feel bad for not already having your product, there is a better approach. The better way to do things is to strike a middle ground between not pushing your product and pushing too hard. You want to associate your product with solving the potential customer’s problem, but you don’t want to come across as telling them that they have no choice but to purchase your product.

What All Of This Means For You

Before a potential customer can purchase our product, they first have to know that it exists. In order to get the word out, one thing that product managers can do is to create ads that talk about their product. This really should be a part of our product manager job description. However, with ads comes the danger of pushing our potential customers too hard.

Researchers who study ads have discovered that your potential customers don’t want your ads to tell them what to do. If you come across as being too forceful in your ad, then they will feel as though you have taken away their freedom of choice. Nobody likes feeling that they are being forced to do something. Instead, what you need to do is to create ads that leave your potential customers feeling like they still have the ability to make their own decisions.

As a product manager you may find yourself spending a lot of time creating ads for your product. Creating ads that accurately tell your story and clearly communicate your message can be key to the success of your product. Make sure that you don’t overdo it and force your potential customers to choose your product. Leave them some room to make up their own minds and you just might be surprised when they choose your product!

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Product Management Skills™

Question For You: What do you think would be a good way to determine if one of your product’s ads is pushing too hard?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

So you think that you have a tough job, eh? Just imagine how hard it must be to the product manager who works for one of the new firms that has just popped up to start legally selling marijuana! In the United States, a handful of states now allow marijuana to be sold either for medical or for recreational purposes. This means that there is a legal market for consumers. Just exactly the kind of situation that calls for a bit of help from a skilled product manager with a well-thought out product development definition.

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