What’s Not Working?


At ADDO, we have an initiative that has been wildly successful. Our target customers are eager consumers, desire to use this product, and believe in its purpose and outcome.

On the other hand, we have another program that is similar in concept— it’s every bit as impactful; we were more thoughtful and strategic in its creation; we did better research ahead of time—but people are simply not as eager to purchase it.

So, what’s the problem? What’s not working?

As a team, we’ve discussed three possible reasons why this product isn’t selling. The process below is simple, practical, and I believe it can be applied to any product or service that you’ve created. The majority of the time, the problem will be in one of three areas:

1. Price

Is your offering priced correctly? You may have priced your product too high, so your target customers feel it’s too expensive and not worth the money. Conversely, you may have actually set the price too low. Your consumers desire something more elite and exclusive, and the price tag makes it feel cheap. The slow uptick may be because you’ve missed on the price piece.

A word of caution: It’s easy to blame the failure of a product launch on its price, but it’s seldom that price is the core of the problem. Keep reading.

2. Product

For simplicity (and alliteration) let’s allow the word product to stand for whatever you’re selling- a product, a service, an offering, or a program. Is the product you’ve created really what the buyer wants? Is it fulfilling a need that they feel? Is it solving a problem they are having? It’s easy to blame pricing for a slow uptick in sales, but it’s entirely possible that the product is just not right for your target audience. Take the time to ask the tough questions and do the hard work of seeing if you have actually created the right product and identified the correct consumers who need it.  

3. Presentation

When I say presentation, I am describing the way you have chosen to present your product. Presentation is the way you describe your product, service, or offering to the the potential customer. We seldom place the greatest emphasis, time, and energy on properly presenting our product to our customers, but this is often the main reason our product isn’t selling. We rush to discount the price or label the entire product as a failure, but we may simply need to present our offering in a new way.

It’s important to note: Oftentimes the closer your proximity to a product or program, the harder it is to tell the right story. As innovators, we have a tendency to describe functional details rather than personal impact, and we lose customers in the process.

How can we do this effectively?

Instead of describing the minutiae of a new ADDO program, we should emphasize its ability to transform lives.

Instead of outlining her skills as a writer, the freelancer should explain how she can help bring your message to life.

Instead of focusing on their gluten free products, the donut shop should sell the experience of enjoying their treats.

Instead of explaining their schedule of events, the camp should explain how a week spent with them could bring your family together.

Take an inventory of your offerings. Are they priced correctly? Is the product what consumers want? Have you told the right story?

If something isn’t working, change it. But make sure you’re changing the right thing.


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Today, business means more than just mere products and services. Your organization needs to stand for something. Branding is what you tell the world; leadership is how you make it come true.

No one knows this dynamic better than Kevin Paul Scott.

Companies turn to Kevin for advice on how to up the meaning-quotient in their businesses, so that employees and customers alike champion the business as if it were their own.

Let Kevin come and teach your group about how to build a business and communicate corporate values in a way that resonates with consumers.

His speeches include:
• Building a Business with Meaning
• Leading When the Majority is Wrong
• In Changing Times, Hold to Unchanging Principles
• The War for Talent: Recruiting and Retaining Top Tier Talent
• Essential Exchanges: What You Have to Give Up to Go Up