February 2017

Are you selling your product category?

Blog Widget

If you make or sell widget A*, it’s easy to feel that your marketing is working hard if it is successfully promoting and encouraging sales of widgets. Unless you are the dominate manufacturer or retailer of widgets, chances are a lot of your marketing efforts are helping to sell widget B, widget C and even widget X, which is certainly a nice thing to do, but not very good for your bottom line.

The real goal of your marketing should be to sell your particular brand of widget and not just the product category. To do this, you need to move beyond just how great widgets are and focus instead on why your widgets are the best to buy.

You need to differentiate your product or your company’s approach to widgets so that your brand rises above the commodity level and stands for something in the mind of the consumer.

What is widget A’s backstory? Why does it exist? Why do I care? How does it relate to my hopes and dreams? What does this widget say about me?

These are all great starting points to crafting a message that will resonate with your target market.

Intermingling the positive aspects of widgets in general with your brand’s story is fine, but it can be a costly mistake to allow your entire brand story to be about product attributes that can easily be supplied by all your competitors.

In this blog, the use of the word “widget” is used to refer to any indefinite products or services. The history of this term is somewhat obscure, one possible start is a reference from a 1924 Ross Hart play. Others claim it was any device that held a horse’s rein in place on a buggy. While the history is suspect, the future seems even bleaker for the ubiquitous term.

Today, the tech industry has adopted this term to refer to specific computer components or applications on an interface, thus taking this go-to word from being inclusively vague into an actual description of a very specific function. That, however, is the way of language; words are constantly morphing in meaning and purpose until the original usage of a term has nothing to do with the current definition. The real question is what word will replace “widget” as a catch-all for products? Got any ideas? Comment here and let us know what you think would be a good replacement word – made up or real. Who knows, together we may introduce to the world the next “widget” nomenclature.


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