The Hero's Journey Metaphor: Multi-Outcome Products

In the previous article, we looked at, an AI-powered, self-serve logo-selection app.

My main feedback to the app’s creators was to turn the product into a multi-outcome offering.

The biggest opportunity with logology is that it offers only one product.

  1. Because there’s a push-back when answering the branding questionnaire, tempting visitors to abort the process, I recommend having an option to take the questionnaire with them. A downloadable PDF would be a secondary product.
  2. Because there’s a mixture of high-trust and potential let-down when no logo presented fits the bill, there’s a missed opportunity to invite the visitor to hire the designer directly. Not an upsell, but a way to serve the user who wants to keep going in the process and isn’t worried about price.

In a follow-up discussion with one of the developers, I expanded on my feedback (emphasis added):

The success of logology right now is bound to a binary success metric: they have or have not obtained a logo.

My suggestion is to make it a multi-finish-line product because of the mini-struggles that occur that the super-attractive journey logology has laid out ahead for the visitor.

The Hero’s Journey

Writing that follow-up reminded me of the Hero’s Journey metaphor, which fits well with the struggle-centric approach I’ve been advocating, which is also central to the Jobs-to-be-done theory of buyer behavior.

In short, the Hero’s Journey is a story-telling pattern where the protagonist (the main character):

  1. Is confronted with an obstacle or a difficulty that grows into a struggle;
  2. Sets out to find a way to fix that struggle;
  3. Through a series of new circumstances (along the journey) is presented with new choices that make the old ways no longer tenable, forcing her to choose;
  4. Through adversity and tenacity, the protagonist pushes through the switch to the new reality, coming back to her reality forever changed, a beacon of triumph for others to witness.

Catching Obstacles Your Product Creates

All products of consequence, all products or services proposing a better way forward, have to address a struggle that’s hard enough for the buyer to say no to the old way, and yes to the new way. No struggle, no product.

And yet! Not everyone will choose to go forward. That’s because along the journey, anxieties will surely manifest themselves. Too high a price. Too many features.

Those anxieties will surely make the buyer revert back to “I’ll just” statements, to default down to the mish-mash of solutions the person is already using.

Your product (your service) will be, for some, an obstacle on their progress.

This, to me, is the opportunity too many products fail to take advantage of.

Like logology, most products present a single outcome.

Instead, why not morph your product into a multi-outcome offering?

  • When your product creates an obstacle, why not offer a sub-product to help the person get moving on the progress they seek to make? A PDF they can take with them for a lower price. Or maybe a video course. Or maybe a subscription to your newsletter, which in itself should address a job-to-be-done;
  • At the point in your landing page where you suspect some people will be choosing to “do it themselves”, why not show them how to go about doing that? That might actually accentuate a different struggle (“I don’t have time to learn all this”) and put them back on track on their main journey;
  • When your product is being hired but doesn’t completely solve the job-to-be-done, why not offer more? Offer to put them in touch with a community, offer some custom services, or confidently suggest a competitor.

What will you create when you help a person via this multi-outcome approach?

You’ll create more heros. More heros who will come back to their reality, changed, beacons of triumph for others to witness.

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