Thursday, September 08, 2011

Impressed vs. Jaded

These days it takes a lot to impress us. Manufacturers present thousands of new products every year to eat, make our lives easier/more productive, or just enjoy. We’re bombarded with a plethora of advertising messages telling us why this is better than that or why we need the other thing. Some products, such as the iPhone and iPad, wowed users, but how will Apple top them…and by enough margin and at a price enticing to customers beyond early adopters? The newest thing isn't always the best (Windows Vista, anyone?). Some products are targeted to a narrow market, while others are intended to appeal to the masses. Judges on the TV shows So You Think You Can Dance and America’s Got Talent say the competition is better than ever and make comments such as, “Last season, you would’ve gone through to the next round.” With the bar constantly being raised higher and higher, how do we continue to measure up? We often say so and so’s new book/movie wasn’t as good as the last. This or that restaurant is better than the other. It’s difficult to isolate each experience and not compare it to all we've seen and done before. And given the lackluster economy, motivating us to part with our hard-earned dollars is harder than ever, though instant gratification is often at our fingertips. For .99, we may download a book or iTune. But if the price is $4.99, will we be so quick to order? Will we shell out more than $20 for a hardcover novel? What makes something worth your time and money, makes it special enough and different enough that you need or want it? Reviews and what friends and family say may influence us. Perceived value, product features, utility, and what that product can do for us or how it can make us feel are some other factors. Soon I'll be self-publishing a non-fiction book. How will my co-author and I make readers want to buy? Make it stand out amidst the thousands of self-help books available from publishers large and small? Will we get good reviews and word of mouth to spur sales, or will we be hand selling each copy...putting in too many hours promoting vs. our return on investment?

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