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Why do sales of some products grow explosively while others languish? It depends on the intrinsic nature of the product. At Tactics we have boiled this down into a simple question: is your product “Must Have”, or “Nice to Have?” Let’s explore the implications of this question and how its answered.

Why do companies or people buy products? Because they solve a problem. You can interpret this as the product being a solution to a particular PAIN experienced by the buyer. This is important because solution to PAIN is “must have”, meaning that the buyer will ultimately purchase a product. They may defer, but ultimately the PAIN is too much and they buy. This is the essence of a “Must Have” product. There are all sorts of examples. Cisco cures PAIN related to networking. Google solves PAIN related to searching and finding information on the web.

In contrast, a “Nice to Have” product is a discretionary purchase. It does not solve a user PAIN so there is no compelling reason to trigger a purchase. The fate of Nice to Have products is mediocre, unimpressive sales growth. Why? Because, by definition, there is no compelling reason to purchase. Lets look at some examples. First, the daily newspaper. Today it is a discretionary purchase. Written news is available online from many sources, often including free from the paper’s own website. Competition from Craigslist has replaced individual “for sale” advertising. Papers have shrunk in size, staff, and circulation. Other examples of Nice to Have products include many apps in the iPhone App Store. Examples include the dozens of “tip calculator” or flashlight apps. These are fun things to have, but not essential. That is why many are distributed for free, zero revenue, $0.00.

In future blog postings we will explore in more detail the ramifications of  the question  “is your product “Must Have”, or “Nice to Have?” The nature of the product influences how it is priced, sold, promoted – the entire range of activities of getting a new product into the marketplace.

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