We the People...

There's so much evidence that in this World 2.0, it's power to the people. It's not just agency websites telling us this. The mainstream news to major universities all say the same thing: WE are in charge. Hell, it's been almost four years since Time named us Person of the Year. But this is so hard for most people. It's the opposite of the paradigm we've all grown up with. So companies, by which I mean people who make things, keep doing what they know how to do: Make whatever they make and tell people about it.

My latest example: This week I've been reviewing online project management systems, all software as a service (SAAS). If that bit of technical jargon made your head hurt, don't fret. Let's just say I was looking at websites of people who wanted to sell me something.

I probably looked at 30 websites. Most offered lengthy, in-depth photo and video tutorials of their systems. One wanted me to watch a 7 minute movie right after watching a 3 minute movie. And there were another 5+ movies I could watch after that. How long did they expect me to spend on their site?

One had video of a guy writing on a whiteboard to explain the features. In real-time, you had to wait for him to put down in chicken-scratch what he had just told you. Are you kidding?

Most did good jobs telling me what they made and how they work, often in excruciating detail. Do I need a tutorial on how to customize the colors before I've even signed up? Do I?

Some offer free trials, which is table stakes in that game. But when time is as precious as money, the free trial really isn't free. Read my previous post on free trials.

And a few don't offer free trials. They make you fill out a form for a demo or more information. What?! Assuming I didn't already hate them, this instantly fixed that. If I like you, I want to do business with you NOW. Got my credit card in my hand, ready to pull the trigger. But not you, you're too good for money, you require me to fill out an application to pay you. Thanks.

Are you ready? Here's what you need to do: Stop telling us how your product works and listen to what We want from you. Learn about us, our needs and wants. Then make it easy for us to get those things from you. You'll get our money, I promise.