Is a Digital Line Forming to Get to Your Product?

4 Ways to Make Your Product Line-worthy

New Yorkers know a good thing when they see it. Despite priding themselves on their discerning taste and general indifference to following the crowd, New Yorkers will often get on a line first and ask questions later. Unlike Americans in other parts of the country who look for speed and convenience, New Yorkers have honed their line waiting skills and their patience quotient when they believe the reward is worth it. Specifically, they’re looking to have stories to tell, acquire bragging rights about being the first to acquire something of importance within their social circle, and get attention from others and the media. For marketers, lines are the ultimate form of word of mouth marketing.

4 Reasons people wait in line

To be able to apply line-forming attributes to your digital offering, it’s critical to understand what motivates people to invest their time while visually showing their support for a product or event.  Here are four reasons people wait on lines. Included are questions to help you think about your product offering.

  1. Being the first to do or buy something has cache. It’s the rationale behind people waiting to buy the newest Apple product, or Harry Potter book the night it goes on sale. One of the side benefits of this type of offering is that there’s a level of camaraderie amongst the people waiting with shared interests. This also can be applied to events such as sneak previews for movies and live shows. Can you make your customers feel special about getting early access to your product? Thinking in terms of events around your product can be useful.
  2. Velvet rope syndrome is associated with being allowed to enter an establishment where there’s restricted access. This gives entrants a “coolness” factor. Think in terms of nightclubs. Can you create a club atmosphere around your best buyers and/or most influential fans?
  3. Walk of fame gives people a level of celebrity by association with someone or something high profile. Generally, this applies to stars and other famous people. It can be extended to the rock stars of your niche.  Can you associate your product with the stars and/or gurus of your product’s sector? Alternatively, can you make your spokesperson a brand icon? Think of the Old Spice man, Isaiah Mustafa.
  4. Limited edition product translates to a short supply of a one-time item that will not be available once it’s given or sold out. While direct marketers have created these types of products for years, companies like Target did with its Liberty of London pop up store in midtown Manhattan. How can you extend your product line to create special limited edition items that your prospects and customers will queue up to buy?

4 Ways to measure the length of your product’s digital line

Online, being “in the know” has the same types of coolness elements as offline. Here’re four ways to tell if your product has a digital line?

  1. Socially share information about your organization and/or products including tweets. Do your prospects and customers encourage family, friends and colleagues to view your content or see your product? How broad is their reach? How influential are they in driving measurable actions?
  2. Join via Facebook fans and/or likes. Are your fans willing to associate publicly with your organization, regardless of whether they purchase anything? Think more broadly in terms of Meetups, Twitter chats and other types of gatherings.
  3. Integrate your brand and/or product content into their own. This applies to a wide range of user-generated content including blogs, photographs, videos, reviews and comments. These interactions are important since they require more motivation than just clicking a button.
  4. Put products and/or services into their shopping carts. In the end, it gets down to one question: Did they actually make a purchase or influence someone else to purchase?

Like New Yorkers, most people are looking for ways to feel special and waiting on a line can provide some version of that. As a marketer, it’s important to adapt your brand and offering to give customers these types of experiences to extend your sales.

Is your brand and/or product line-worthy? If so, what makes it special and, if not, what can you do to make it so?

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen


For another view of a product that attracts a line, please read this column.

Photo credit: Queue by Saxon via Flickr

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