In the past few years Blackberry, Nokia, Microsoft, Yahoo, MySpace have all suffered serious set backs to their fortunes. I’m sure you could name a dozen businesses from your own manufacturing, service, product, software sectors that have struggled to keep momentum moving along.

I’m convinced that we are choosing products and services based on one feature! As decision makers we are boiling it down to one killer feature ASSUMING all main needs are met. If you take a range of strong competitors and assuming they are all covering the ground on 99% of your needs then I believe we are spinning the wheel, pressing the yes button on one main feature.

One Main Feature

  • Blackberry’s browser sucks. Eventually people really needed a decent browser. Great email didn’t cut it. All the players delivered a great email service. All players offered pretty impressive security. The iPhone delivered a brilliant browser.
  • HootSuite is a great dashboard for handling Twitter feeds. So is Tweetdeck. However Tweetdeck does something really key and really simple. It allows you to instantly see who is following you. HootSuite does not. I’ve stopped using HootSuite and gone back to Tweetdeck.
  • Running gear has become quite advanced over the years. Shoes have developed in so many ways, shorts, vests, track pants have all improved. However if you race regularly you actually want a killer feature in your track pants. You want the zips to be long enough to be able to take the pants off before you race without taking your shoes off. Not all pants have that feature. Simple but compelling.
  • Car performances across brands, within a class of car, are so similar theses days that you may well be choosing your car on the basis of the quality of the satellite navigation system. Or perhaps on the quality of the MP3 interface.
  • Barbers, hairdressers, dentists, massage therapists, car repair shops are all in a very competitive space but the one you keep going back to always calls you 24 hours before your appointment to remind you. I find that very helpful.
  • Airlines are offering very similar packages but does the screen at the airport automatically suggest a better aisle seat for free. US Airways did recently? That may become quite a distinctive feature
  • As you book your hotel room for business or leisure and assuming you have a choice with similar prices, is there a tipping point feature? Wifi, music, quality of minibar?
  • Mr. Systrom who just made $450m from the sale of Instagram to Facebook, struggled with his previous start up Burbn. Focused on the mobile space he struggled to explain it to anyone so he focused on the piece that people got – the photo feature!
  • You have a choice of restaurant. Your shortlist of 3 have brilliant food, great atmosphere, cost $80 per head but only one has valet parking.
  • It doesn’t surprise me that Ultrabooks are becoming so popular. If you combine ridiculously fast processing speeds, inside a remarkably thin and light laptop then consumers will buy. As I chose the Mac Air recently however it ultimately came down to the thinness. Could I literally take it anywhere at anytime.
  • Dropbox is instinctively dead easy to save files and share files. That is all I want it for. It works on that basis. Easy of use.


You may have 100 features in your product but is your market ultimately making decisions on one feature. Is there one key function that would swing more of the market your way? Go find out what your killer feature needs to be. You might be surprised how a simple tweak could move you past the competition and then keep looking for a new one as they catch up!

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