We move towards pleasure and away from pain. When we have a clear goal in mind, we feel the discomfort (pain) of being at Point A while we fantasize about Point B. We want to get to that goal as quickly as possible! And we value solutions that help us get there with speed and ease.
Creators (especially creator-educators) are in the business of helping people get from Point A to Point B – that's what our content and products promise to do.
But how quickly do you deliver on the promise?
How easy do you make that journey feel?
Your goal should be to create magical experiences – and to do that, let's think about your work through the lens of Maps, GPS, and Private Drivers.
A map provides a visual reference for how different elements relate to each other in space. That's an ambiguous definition, but maps can take many forms – geographical maps, mind maps, database maps, etc. They may also be static or dynamic.
Static maps are limited to whatever detail they were created with. Think about the difference between a map of the US vs. a map of Texas. The map of Texas may offer more specific detail within the state – but if you leave the state, it's not much help.
Dynamic maps may be updated over time and allow you to zoom in or out into more or less detail. Zooming IN on a map of the US may allow you to zoom into state-specific details of Texas AND Oklahoma.
Reading a map requires some skill on the part of the user. You can provide a functional map that helps someone go from Point A to Point B, but if they don't know how to USE the map, it won't help. Plus, have you ever tried to read a map and drive at the same time? Yikes.
On the plus side, a map may be useful beyond its INITIAL use case. Directions from MapQuest will only help you on a specific journey, but a map may help you on several journeys.
GPS is a dynamic, comprehensive set of maps that virtually eliminates the skill of wayfinding. As long as you can tell the GPS exactly where you want to go, the GPS will provide the most efficient route.
Not only that, but GPS provides step-by-step instructions while you move toward your destination – even updating on the fly if you deviate from the path!
As magical as GPS is, it still requires you to do the driving yourself. It makes driving as easy and mindless as possible – but you have to pay attention to sit in the driver's seat, pay attention to the road, and steer the vehicle.
YOU are still responsible for a safe arrival at your destination.
A private driver goes a step further – you go from driver to passenger. Sit back, relax, and watch as you magically move toward your destination by using cash instead of effort.
Relating this to your products
All three of these technologies can get someone to their destination, but each experience feels different. The map requires a lot of effort – and it's far less convenient. The GPS feels much more magical, but it's still YOU doing the work of driving. And the private driver feels the most magical of all – with enough money, you can stop worrying about HOW you'll get there entirely.
Honestly think about your products – are you providing a map, GPS, or private driver?
You may think this maps to the classic categories of:
- Do It Yourself
- Done With You
- Done For You
In some cases, that's true. Most people hear "Done For You" and think of a services agency. But actually, software can also provide a Done For You solution too.
The most magical product experiences feel like stepping into the back of a vehicle, sharing a minimal amount of information (your destination), and getting there with speed and comfort.
But my point isn't that you should make all of your products feel like a Private Driver. It's really hard to build that – and you may not be interested in providing any of your time. My point is that thinking about this spectrum can push you to develop more magical experiences than you are now.
Most creators are providing static maps. They create a pre-recorded course or workshop that makes a bunch of assumptions and tells you how to get from Point A to Point B (as long as our assumptions about you are correct!)
This is what makes live learning preferred by some. Live learning feels more like GPS – we have more opportunities to share our current coordinates and get contextualized directions.
This is a huge opportunity to stand out. Even if you can't yet see how your product helps someone get from Point A to Point B with next to no effort, you can at least start thinking about making your product a more dynamic map. Zoom out – find ways to accommodate the customer journey from multiple starting points or constraints.
Better yet, create a GPS! Help people orient themselves and give them step-by-step instructions for getting to their destination. If they stray from your path, provide them with ways to get back on track.
In the beginning, this may look like doing things that don't scale. You may include more personal check-ins to help diagnose issues and course correct. You may sell 1:1 Done For You service packages (so that you can eventually hire and train others to do it for you).
Magical product experiences create repeat customers and vocal advocates.
In a world of map-makers, build a GPS.