Pleasure vs Pain

Uploaded on May 22, 2007 by s_harding_uk

David Gilroy from Conscious Solutions nailed it at a Bristol Enterprise Network event last week when asked what changes he was making to his product to sell better in a recession.

“Absolutely none”. The pitch to clients is changing, however, from how a great website can enhance your offering to one that points out how a great website can retain and generate more revenue from existing clients. Moving from selling vitamins to pain relief.

Angel investors have always asked what pain you’re addressing. This advice was been given by Greg McAdoo – Partner, Sequoia Capital at Y Combinator’s 2007 Startup School, more recently by Mark MacLeod, and before and since by many others.

Which is great if you’re thinking up your new killer app. What was interesting with David was that he has a successful business and is quickly positioning his product to be that pain killing pill that people will spend money on.

I’m not working with David, but a company I am advising (Heliotrope) has a game that promotes soft skills in the education market (I’ll come back to education in a later post on markets, and we’re looking at other markets than just education). At the moment it’s a pretty vitamin offering, helping kids understand themselves and their group and getting ready for the school term ahead. However, Canada is suffering a major pain with kids dropping out of school. Part of the extensive piloting for the game was with kids at risk of dropping out. The feedback on their increased self-esteem and desire to re-engage means we’re nuancing the emphasis from vitamin benefit, towards pain relief.

We’re also looking for new sources of pain that the game can address. The game and it’s holistic benefits haven’t changed, but people buy pain relief now when they’ll pass up an opportunity to perhaps make things better in the future.

How are you positioning yourself to be an indispensable pain relief pill rather than a nice-to-have vitamin pill?

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