Getting Customers to Use Your Product

January 3, 2018

Dear Strategy:

“What is your strategy to get customers to use this product?”

I love this question because I can practically hear the frustration in its tone. And it’s a frustration I’ve felt so many times before. I have this great product, but nobody seems to care. They must be crazy! Yeah – that’s it. They just don’t get it.

In reality, there are only two reasons why customers aren’t buying your product. Either they don’t care about it or they don’t know about it. And, unfortunately for you, both of these reasons are our fault as product managers – which is probably why it pisses us off so much.

The good news is that the solution to figuring out which of these two camps you fall into has already been invented, and it’s called the marketing mix. Or, as it is more commonly known, “The 4-Ps of Marketing” – which are, of course, Product, Price, Promotion, and Place.

When someone doesn’t care about your product, it usually has something to do with one or both of the first two Ps. Either you have developed a product that has no real value proposition, or you’ve priced it in a way that doesn’t match the actual value that it brings.

When someone doesn’t know about your product (assuming you have the product and price right), it’s usually because of the last two Ps. Either you haven’t promoted it, or you’ve put it in a place where nobody can find it. And getting one or both of those things wrong can be just as devastating as developing a valueless product to begin with.

In either case, it’s going to be up to you to figure out which of these two problems you have. If you’ve done all your homework, spent time understanding customer needs, and have a really good handle on the true value that your product brings to your customers’ lives, then chances are you’ve got the promotion or placement wrong. But if you’ve done none of those things, then you may be looking at a product or pricing problem. And, unfortunately, that may be a little more difficult to fix.

So, to answer the question more directly – “How do you get customers to use your product?” You don’t. You create a product that customers want to use. Then you price it according to the value that it brings, you promote it so that people know what that value is, and you place it somewhere that makes them want to buy it. Then you won’t have to ask this question ever again.


Listen to the podcast episode
Dear Strategy: Episode 031




Bob Caporale is the author of Creative Strategy Generation and the host of the Dear Strategy podcast. You can learn more about his work by visiting

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