Beyond Product - Jill Soley, Todd Wilms

Beyond Product - Jill Soley, Todd Wilms

Learn the key steps to make your product stand out in a competitive market!

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Often, just having a great product is not enough, if the way in which it is offered does not live up to its qualities. That's why the authors Jill Soley and Todd Wilms teach in their book "Beyond Product" how to turn ideas into successful businesses through product marketing.

The main objective of marketing is to win and retain customers, and it is through it that a company generates value on its product. Besides, it is important to increase market competitiveness and enhance your brand.

Want to know more? So, keep reading this summary about the art of creating and selling a good product!

About the book "Beyond Product"

The book "Beyond Product", written by Jill Soley and Todd Wilms, was published on February 5, 2019, by Morgan James Publishing.

The book is divided into 9 chapters, with a total of 170 pages, and presents in a script form all the advertising work that must be done for a product to be successful in sales.

For its construction, more than 50 founders and entrepreneurs provided the authors with their perspectives on how to overcome obstacles faced at different levels during the growth of a company.

About the authors Jill Soley and Todd Wilms

Jill Soley has been working for over a decade with the application and release of software within startups and large companies. Currently, she works as vice president of product marketing at a technology startup, which offers solutions to improve decision-making processes in companies.

Todd Wilms is a marketing executive who has worked with major companies such as SAP and PayPal. He has more than 100 contributions published in Forbes and also lectures on his specialties.

To whom is this book indicated?

According to Jill Soley and Todd Wilms, "Beyond Product" is intended for entrepreneurs, especially those who want to launch tech startups.

However, because the book's content covers both basic ideas and more advanced knowledge, reading it can be very useful for experienced executives as well.

Also, it's an interesting book for investors, members of various teams, advisors, and other stakeholders, especially those who are related to marketing.

Main ideas of the book "Beyond Product"

  • Even with a great product at hand and a good execution of your operations, if you don't understand who your target audience is, your chances of success fall greatly;
  • It is extremely important to carry out tests to analyze the performance of the product and advertising actions;
  • Initially, it is essential to reach an audience that may be small, but is loyal to your products, because in the future they can help you even more;
  • When working with scarce resources, you must have the intelligence to apply them in the best way without compromising the future;
  • You should make big investments only after developing a good product and understanding who your audience is.

Next, the main stages that will be analyzed during the entire cycle of launching and developing a new product will be presented with more details. Let's go?

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[Book Summary] Beyond Product - Jill Soley, Todd Wilms

Overview: Part 1 - Test the Idea

You had a great idea about an innovative product. And now? Where to start? In general, the next steps to be taken involve defining, validating, and identifying the size of the market that you can reach from this innovation.

Testing the idea consists of confirming that there is a need in the market and understanding who has that need. It is a fundamental first step, which is often the difference between the success and failure of an enterprise.

Often, people develop the product and only then they look for someone who can purchase it. The ideal is to do just the opposite, just build the product after being sure that people want it.

In the book "Beyond Product", the authors affirm that understanding and identifying your market is important even when it comes to raising more capital because when you present the existing market to potential investors, they will feel more confident to inject money into your venture.

The authors Jill Soley and Todd Wilms explain that it is interesting to have a long-term view, thinking about expansion. However, the focus at the beginning should be on a specific market in which your product can solve problems right away.

An example of this focus was made by Amazon, which initially sold books online and, over time, expanded to become "the everything store".

This first phase is also the time to develop the story through which you will sell the idea. The authors say that using storytelling practices is essential to make the market embrace your product.

Basically, the company's founders work as their own marketing team during this period. To keep costs down, Jill Soley and Todd Wilms suggest hiring freelancers to help with market research, if necessary.

Overview: Part 2 - Test the Product

In the previous phase, you conducted market research to identify and validate your target audience, found a market that demands what you have to offer, created your story, and may even have convinced investors. Now, the goal is to start building and testing your product.

The authors Jill Soley and Todd Wilms recommend adjusting the product to the existing market that was previously identified. Therefore, marketing must take into account four factors:

  • Product: refers to the characteristics, benefits, and value offered;
  • Price: how much consumers accept to pay and how they will pay (one-time fee or a monthly charge, for example);
  • Promotion: the way in which you are talking to your customers about the product. This includes advertising, public relations, special offers, among others;
  • Attribution: how you reach your customer. Where they will have access to your product, how your sales team works, and so on.

The combination of these four categories forms an attractive product offering, as it is affirmed in the book "Beyond Product". From this, it is important to evaluate everything that helps to understand the needs and behavior of customers, make tests, and learn from the results obtained.

Overview: Part 3 - Test the Business

At this stage, you already know who your potential customers are and have a product they want. Now, the important thing is to find the most efficient ways to reach these consumers and set the best messages to get their attention.

It is also important to define the best time to contact customers. According to the experience of authors Jill Soley and Todd Wilms, there is a very effective difference in sales success depending on when the message reaches the consumer.

Therefore, your energies should be channeled into the development of program schedules that send the best messages to consumers, through the best channel and at the right time. Besides, these schedules have to be coordinated with other marketing actions, such as special offers, for example.

The authors explain in "Beyond Product" that it is hard work and depends on many experiments until finally finding the best actions. However, the tests should not be done simply by intuition or randomly, they should be systematic and follow logic.

One of the great advances in marketing today is that much of it is done in the digital environment and, as a result, its results turn out to be more measurable. On the other hand, this is also a challenge, as competitors may also have access to the data.

It is essential that your marketing team get together to describe the personas that need your product. This type of exercise helps to design how a certain customer will receive and what their reaction will be according to their advertising campaigns.

This way, it is possible to develop advertisements and new activities totally aimed at the target public, which will probably boost your results a lot.

Jill Soley and Todd Wilms show in their book "Beyond Product" that, with experimentation and planning, it is possible to build a solid advertising base so that you can move on to the next steps and scale your business more effectively.

Overview: Part 4 - Make the Business Grow

After getting to know your market and your client in depth, performing several tests to find out which are the best advertising campaigns, and when is the best time to launch them, it is time to increase investments to expand your influence and profit levels even more.

To do so, the development of a solid marketing plan is crucial, with the hiring of a whole team to assist in managing the relationship with customers throughout the entire purchase journey, investments in technology, and constant search for growth opportunities.

It is at this stage that the relationship with the customer turns into commitment through investment and appreciation of consumers, and the value delivered to them, which is essential to maintain a long-term relationship.

The authors Jill Soley and Todd Wilms say that it is necessary to understand the customer journey, which can be divided into the following categories:

  • Awareness: the first interaction between your company and the consumer. It can be as simple as reading the name in a cover letter or pamphlet;
  • Familiarity: the customer already has an idea about who you are and what you do. So, even if distant, you already represent a possibility;
  • Consideration: it is at this stage that the client ceases to be passive and begins to enter an active phase of decision-making. It is an excellent time for marketing campaigns to connect the buyer's needs with your products;
  • Purchasing: customers purchase your product after they are convinced that your solution is the best one to the problems they face;
  • Loyalty: consists of how the customers are treated and how they perceive efforts after buying. You have to understand that the journey does not end with the sale, as customer loyalty and voice are essential for the success of your business.

As explained in the book "Beyond Product", the mapping of the purchase journey is interesting to identify possible procedural flaws and, based on such analysis, take corrective actions and carry out tests to assess their impacts.

To build a solid and sustainable growth plan, it is essential to invest in a variety of areas, both in people (hiring talent for your team) and structure (investing in technologies and programs that help in the operation of your company).

Also, it is extremely important to measure all results through key performance indicators (KPIs), so you can assess whether you are on the right track, identify opportunities for improvement, and even motivate your team to expand and operate in new markets and products.

What do other authors say about it?

You may have heard that market research is the most important part before starting a business. From it, you can identify your consumer audience and build your product according to your niche. However, Simon Sinek, in the book "Start with Why" does not agree with this. He believes that it's more important to discover and understand your "why".

Brazilian businessman Flávio Augusto shows in his book, "Generation of Value", how important it is to create value for customers, instead of just working for capital. By generating value in other people's lives, they will do the same for you.

Finally, in the book "The Blue Ocean Strategy", the authors W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne bring a new concept in strategy to gain prominence in the market. This innovation is based on exploiting market opportunities in which there are no competitors, called "blue oceans".

Okay, but how can I apply this to my life?

To put together an efficient growth plan with a solid foundation, it is interesting to create a marketing project following these guidelines:

  • Define your goals. What do you want to achieve?;
  • Develop and implement the culture of measuring results. Also, set ideal standards and results to assess your performance according to what you consider to be a success;
  • Create a strategy to serve as a differentiated approach in the pursuit of the objectives that have been defined;
  • Set a budget and stick to it, being careful not to overspend. Consider keeping an extra budget for further experimentation and testing.

Did you like this summary of the book "Beyond Product"?

We hope you could learn a lot from Jill Soley and Todd Wilms. Leave your feedback, your opinion is very important to us!

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Book 'Beyond Product'