Are Your Products like Pancakes? (Business Advice from Mitch Hedberg)

In: marketing

20 Apr 2010

The late, great comedian Mitch Hedberg had a lot to say about the craft and business of being a comic. Here is how he described the art of showmanship.

As a comedian, you have to start the show strong and you have to end the show strong. Those are the two key elements. You can’t be like pancakes. You’re all happy at first, but then by the end, you’re sick of ’em.

It’s easy to start strong. A customer hears about your product and becomes excited by the potential offered. It seems to solve a problem they have. Maybe the experience starts with seeing your commercial on television. Or on the shelf at a store. Maybe they have read through your website and decided to sign up for your service. Perhaps your salesperson has just finished a pitch and convinced the customer they want your product.

In other words, they were hungry. They looked at the pancakes, and man, did they sound good.

“I’ll have the pancakes.”

But then they dive in. They start using your product and it’s alright at first. But as they continue to use it, the disappointment starts to set in. The experience is frustrating. The interface is confusing. It becomes a chore. The initial excitement is gone, it becomes unpleasant, and in the end, they’re happy to see it taken away.

It is no longer enough to just drive sales. Your product needs to continually deliver. It needs to live up to the initial promise. Marketing is more than just getting people to buy. The end-to-end experience people have with your product is also marketing. In fact, it’s the most important part, because if you’re leaving people sick of your product at the end, word will spread. The Internet provides everyone with a megaphone and if they aren’t happy, others will know.

And then what happens? People will stop ordering your pancakes.

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Mark Webster

About Mark Webster

One of the Co-Founders of SideTour, former TechStar (NYC Summer 2011), ex-NBA'er, and past TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon Winner.