How to get people interested in your product - lessons from a DJ
I was recently hanging out with a well-known Chicago DJ who told me the secret of every successful disc jockey. He told me that a DJ has to be able to bring a crowd, build a crowd, and blend the crowd.
Successful startups all do the same thing. Just like an internationally famous DJ, a startup needs to bring a crowd — if no one is interested in your product, then you won’t get very far. Campaigns on Kickstarter that are most likely to achieve their funding goals are the ones who bring an existing audience. Startups are no different. If you can turn your early core customers into evangelists, you’ll be well on your way.
A startup also has to build a crowd — it isn’t enough for the crowd to show up; the crowd also has to stick around for the startup’s products. A lot of growing startups are using referral programs to build their customer base on the foundations of trust and word-of-mouth marketing.
Why blend the crowd? A startup needs to secure its “crowd” — its core customers — so that they continue to purchase and support the startup. But a startup also needs to create a community around its customers and its products, so that customers feel personally invested in the startup’s mission.
Patents can help with each of these stages. Once a patent has been filed — even a provisional application — the startup can mark its products, website, etc. with “patent pending”. This attracts interest because it tells your customers that your products are truly innovative.
Patents help with building a crowd because customers know that once your startup gets a patent, other competitor products may be blocked. Customers may then stick around for your products, knowing that they will continue to be available.
Patents also help with blending the crowd by communicating to your audience that your products will continue to be the first to unveil new features and functionality. Since a patent ensures that your ideas are first to market, your core customers will continue to promote your startup as the company with the products that are consistently updated first — thereby bringing beta and test functionality to your best evangelists and making them feel like part of the process.