(Time to read this Blog article is about 60 seconds)

Most businesses create a new product, service or customer experience and then try to write some sort of advertising to promote and sell it.  Just for once, try my “back-assward” approach to creating amazing, customer-owning products, services or experiences.

First, sit down and write an ad for a product, a service, or a customer experience that would be absolutely compelling to your target customers.  What would really ‘grab’ them?  What would put you so far ahead of your competitors that they’d cry, “Unfair competition”?  What would be so amazing that it would literally make you ‘famous’? 

Sit down with a few of the best minds and hearts in your business and get creative.  Think and feel like a customer.  Write the ad.  No whining!  The ad doesn’t have to look fancy.  You don’t need beautiful graphics…it’s about the idea!   

Step two is to figure out how you’re going to create and consistently deliver whatever it is that you came up with…and how you’re going to do that profitably.  This might mean rethinking how you do business or changing your business model.  Once again, no whining.

The good news is that you won’t be a commodity anymore, so price won’t be the biggest issue for your customers…unless ‘price’ is your big idea, in which case you’re going to figure out how to be the lowest cost, most efficient producer or seller. 

The world’s best example of ‘back-assward’ thinking is Henry Ford and his Model T car.  In the early 1900’s hundreds of small shops painstaking built automobiles by hand.  As a result, none of them could sell a car for less than $2,500. That was a huge sum in those days, so cars sold in small numbers to the very wealthy.

Seeing the potential of the automobile to fundamentally transform society and the economy, in 1908 Henry Ford used “back-assward” thinking to ask the question, “What price would I have to be able to sell a car for if I wanted to sell a LOT of cars?”  He came up with a price of $849.  Then, he set out to design and engineer a car and a revolutionary new production method (the assembly line) to produce that car profitably, for $849.  Even better, he paid his employees a high enough wage that they could afford to buy one of the cars they built.

Did Henry’s “back-assward” thinking work?  It appears so.  By 1920, one of every two cars sold in the world was a Ford Model T!

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