Quick Tips: “Smack in the Face Challenges” Exercise
You need to get out of your head and into the mind of your customer. You won’t find features or functionality there. You’ll find benefit statements and value will help you to create simpler messaging that actually resonates with your audience.
This “Smack in the Face Challenges” exercise helps founders get away from features and into benefit statements.
I talk to a lot of tech founders who are struggling with their messaging and they tell me the same thing, they say “Emma I feel like I’m just barfing out technical features.”
You wouldn’t believe how much I hear people equate their messaging attempts with vomiting. But it makes a lot of sense. It’s a natural reflex if you’re a founder to dive straight into the technical details and really get stuck on how it works. How your platform does stuff.
But you know deep down that this isn’t what’s gonna get people interested in your products and wanting to buy it. But you can get stuck here and many founders do.
So if you’re a founder who feels stuck in this place of technical features I have a really great exercise that I love doing with founders and it is called smack in the face challenges.
So I want you to think about your customer and think about their smack in the face challenges as it relates to your product. This is a pain, a need, a challenge, an annoyance.
Something that is just so obvious it’s something that they see and that they can recognize. For example I worked with a founder who is creating a new database for distributed teams and one of the smack in the face challenges that his customer had was “spreadsheet hell” and when he would talk about spreadsheet hell his prospect was nod their head, they’re like “Yes we’re in spreadsheet hell all the time” and when he started kind of connecting the dots between his product and how it could solve spreadsheet hell, people got interested. So get a piece of paper down and try and write down as many smack in the face challenges that your customer has in relation to your product.
Challenge yourself to get really specific — use the kind of language that they use. Get it all down. Once you do, try and turn each challenge into a benefit statement that shows how your product solves that specific smack in the face challenge.
Just try it out. It doesn’t have to be perfect. At the end of it you’re gonna have a list of benefit statements that look completely different from what you would naturally come up with on your own as the founder. And that’s actually a good thing because these statements are going to be rooted in the customer perspective and that really is the key to effective messaging that resonates — it’s got to come from the customer perspective.
So try it out, see how many smack in the face challenges you can come up with, really get creative and let me know how it goes. I would love to hear about them.