Five questions to ask every newcomer

In my last blog entry, I wrote about how newcomers and outsiders to the organization can provide important insights to management that can result in valuable contributions to the company’s success. This is especially true from a marketing perspective.

There are five key questions every marketer or corporate communicator should ask new employees or visitors to the company:

  1. What’s the first thing you notice about our product? What is the newcomer’s immediate, gut reaction? It will probably be their most honest. If they tell you, “Your new tablet looks like a pig,” then it probably does. You’ve just seen it so many times and invested so much time into it that you’ve become blinded to it (or are ignoring it).
  2. What do you like about our product? What features would make them purchase your product? What’s clever? What grabs them? What makes them say “Wow?”
  3. What do you dislike about our product? What turns them off? What about the product makes them want to look elsewhere, or consider a competitor? What makes them say, “What were they thinking?”
  4. What’s different about our product than our competitor’s? Even in an age where few products are truly unique, every company’s take is somewhat different.
  5. Now that you’ve seen our product, what do you remember about it? What’s the takeaway? What do customers remember most? Is it good, bad, positive, negative, or just plain forgettable?

The feedback you receive from these questions represents a gold mine of material for your marketing efforts. The data can yield topics for magazine or trade journal articles, white papers, news releases, blog entries, Facebook posts and tweets.

Often the information you gather may seem silly, irrelevant or flat-out wrong to you, but one should resist the urge to let one’s ego override what an impartial observer has to say. After all, the data you gather will help you improve your product and market it more efficiently. And if you do that, you and the company will benefit.

Nor should any bit of data be tossed aside as too small or irrelevant. Sometimes the tiniest details—the color of the case, for example—can mean all the difference. Consumers tend to “average” out the overall package, while marketers tend to add up features to reach a total. For example, a potential tablet buyer may give the processor and display high marks, but the overall package will get the lower score they assign to the case. A marketer gives the package high marks for the same things, but adds on the score for the case, even if it’s a low number.

Trade Press Services can be that set of fresh eyes that helps your company better market its products and services. To get a new perspective, give us a call at (805) 496-8850 or e-mail

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