Stop trying to convince your customers with empty words, images and boring tutorials. Use your own product to sell your product.

A few years ago, in the context of a local festival, the Red Cross organized an activity for children, with the help of some volunteers, among those I was.

To carry out the activity, we were equipped with drawings to colour with the Red Cross logo and a machine to make button badges. Children had to color the logo, cut it and create their own badges.

During the first hour, everything went as expected, although not very successfully. And it was no wonder, since we were just a group of Red Cross volunteers with a strange machine.

As I was getting bored, I started making my own badges. At first I did some drawings and then created small collages with pieces of paper and threads of different colors.

Some children approached to see what I was doing. As they liked it, some of them asked me to make similar button badges for them and other children, more creative, created their own designs.

All this drew the attention of more families. When it seemed that we were “on the peak of success”, a mother approached, took a picture of his son from her wallet and asked us to do a badge with it. Our users had surpassed us!

That day I learned that no matter how great and easy your product or service could be, your customers won’t understand it if they don’t see real examples of its use. And if they don’t understand it, they won’t use it.

I suspect that real examples also play the early adopters’ role that will stimulate the adoption of new products and services. And who better to create real examples of our own products if not ourselves?

This story about button badges came to my mind a few days ago, when I found the video “Kentucky Lake” created by Charley Miller, Product Lead at TouchCast.

TouchCast is an editing tool that allows the user to record a video and simultaneously superimpose elements in the form of widgets, enabling us to interact with them without interrupting playback.

Someone had mentioned this tool on Twitter and I visited the site. I read the description and watch the video presentation, but I didn’t understand what it was about. It looked interesting, but I didn’t see its utility. And that’s when I watched the video “Kentucky Lake”.

"Kentucky Lake " by Charley Miller

Kentucky Lake ” by Charley Miller

In this video, while watching the Kentucky Lake, Charley Miller adds a map and some pictures in a corner of the screen. It is a simple recording and certainly it could be much more elaborated, but the freshness and the simplicity with which Charley addresses the viewer generate a great final product. And above all, it’s a real example of the use of this tool.

These two examples about the button badges and TouchCast show us that we should be our best customers. Forget about convincing people with images, texts and tutorials. These elements are useful, but at a later stage. Simply use your own product to sell your product.

If we are a digital marketing firm, let’s show what we can do with our social networking profiles. If we sell clothes, let’s clothe our best garments. If we are service designers, let’s design our own service.

Or maybe we’re afraid of discovering that our products do not convince us ourselves?