Inside a hurricane there is a moment of silence. You can't take the noise and pounding anymore. You are ready to jump out of your skin. Then, in that crazy moment, the storm's center arrives. Quiet arrives. Quiet like you've never experienced. Contrast creates deafening quiet. Soon the storm returns. You puncture the other side. The ride continues.
An eye of our collective Digital Marketing Storm settled briefly today. It is the day before Thanksgiving. Our web site is speeding up even as staff and friends hit the road. During a mid afternoon lull a thought settled in too. Process is product I thought.
What does that mean? What are you doing right now? Whatever you are doing, no matter how seemingly insubstantial, your actions are product. Pema Chodron in her book The Wisdom of No Escape explains we are complete just as we are. Think of this idea and apply it to work. Work is a series of tasks leading to some polished result. Polishing is product too. Expose what you do every minute no matter how unpolished because process is product.
Knowing process is product brings benefits. Most will reject or not understand process is product. If your company understands available content goes up as costs decline. In a search engine marketing world there is no such thing as too much content. Our web site's yearly content need is greater than 1,000,000 words. Sounds like a lot, but it is too little. Competitors are creating more content faster. Internet marketing benefits accrue to the swift. We stay in the game at 1,000,000 words a year assuming we figure out how to write, post and edit the equivalent of ten books a year.
Exposing process increases transparency. People know you warts and all. Confidence required to expose warts helps customers see companies as humans - people not machines. Lifting the curtain allows customers into the back room. They see how tricks are done and so don't see them as tricks. They understand you and your company are honest and hard working.
Exposing process reduces costs in another way. Your customers become involved. Never, my P&G boss taught me, build a perfect display. Perfect displays look too good. Customers won't mess them up. They won't buy. If your process is too perfect you create barriers. Your customers won't think you need their golden opinions. Leave your socks on the floor and bed unmade. Your customers may share ideas on picking up your room. Expose process to save millions.
When process goes viral, passed around by customers who freely participate, a tribe forms. A few hundred loyal followers who spend time helping create your widget are literally worth their weight in gold. What will they do when you launch? Your tribe will march to mountain's top and SHOUT their joyful experience. Your product becomes theirs. They own it not you. Share ownership early and often creates an evangelical army. Remember companies can't sell anything anymore (read my tribal marketing post). Set up the means of communication, form the tribe and you won't have to "sell" at least not in the traditional old school sense.
Push every piece of process out to the world. Your company becomes archivist and active librarians. Start with your web site. Create an area identified as a research lab. Invite customers to play. Post, post and post some more. Visuals, things you would have thrown away, every piece of early product process is valuable. Push it to the world. Push it out NOW. LISTEN carefully to how the bell rings.
Change your mind. Change your process. Use wisdom from your crowd to tweak, shave, shape and change your product. Do these things and you won't have to "sell" your widget. It will arrive with the best kind of marketing - evangelical owners who tell a story to anyone. They tell your creation story. You will hear your courage, occasional stupidity and how, in the end, you listened when your magical customers set you straight. At that moment smile and think, "process is product".