Yearning for Internet

by Aaryn Slafky


“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.”
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

On Day One of the 2015 Pivot Forward client summit earlier this month, Steve Gleave, Senior Vice President of Marketing for Metaswitch, spoke about the future of broadband and an IP-based world. He shared a quote from the classic story, The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. I’ve been thinking about those two sentences ever since, as they relate to both customers and employees.

What better way to inspire people to take action than to instill a desire based on what that activity will achieve (a.k.a. a desire to sail the mighty seas causes men to want to build ships).

If we want customers to take higher broadband speeds, we have to look for ways to encourage them to yearn for activities, hobbies, etc., best achieved through faster, more powerful connections. It’s all about the experience. Our marketing needs to relate the plan to how they will use it. The more it relates and fits with what they want to do, the more value they will perceive and, therefore, they’ll have a greater willingness to pay for it. If they yearn for the experience a 100 Mbps connection provides, they will gladly subscribe to it. A desire to game, connect, stream, etc., will cause customers to yearn for faster plans.

The same idea applies to employees. If we want to inspire employees to sell more, we should show them the impact these products can have. Share the stories of life-changing impacts. Perhaps it’s a grandparent being able to connect regularly over video streaming with their long distance grandchildren. Showing a relationship cultivated by technology can be inspiring. What do your customers yearn to do that an Internet connection (or another product) can help make happen? Share those stories.

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