10 reasons why you have no business launching a widget, yet.

“Whip up some numbers that make it look like we have, like, I don’t know, a thousand HD channels.” – Cable Corp, Inc. VP

You know those DirectTV spots that have been running as of late? A bunch of suits sitting around trying to guess what the customer might want. That’s happening a lot lately. What’s funny is that in a lot of situations, these groups have some really talented people sitting at these tables and yet they blamestorm or better yet, come up with really shitty ideas that are fast-tracked. I don’t get that. How can good smart people come up with such bad stuff? That’s probablyy a whole ‘nuther blog post in and of itself but for today we’re going to talk about something that I guarantee you is on the lips of some of these aformentioned people. Widgets.

I got a great idea, lets make a widget, that should drive some major traffic!


You don’t have a clue do you?

Reason #1 You probablly have heard of a widget but in actuality you don’t have a clue as to what they are. Widgets are essentially cute little applications that you can run on your desktop that will entertain you, provide informtaion, keep you in the loop etc. All in little snippets.  Here’s an example.

This widget helps you find cheap gas in your area. Good luck with that.



So anyways, you’re a marketer or an executive and you’ve now heard of these and sorta seen them in action and you think, we need widgets. Which leads to:

Facebook, what’s Facebook?

Reason #2 You probably don’t even know where to put your “company created” widget. Do you even know where to put it? “ok it’s built, now what”? If you’re group created it, does your company have a Facebook presence to support it since that’s generally where they thrive? How about a blog?

My audience is…

Reason #3 To build and distribute your widget, that would mean that you know exactly who are your target audience is and know that they would benefit from a widget. How well do you know your customer?

Let’s sell something and cut to the chase!

Reason #4 You will probabally bust out the sales speak on your widget and the pitch will be oozing all over your widget because you think it’s a way to sell more product. Wrong. Widgets are about branding, are about fun and are about entertainment. Though utility driven widgets are useful, they do not have the same impact as one that needs to be shared with others.

Yea we have a website, my son built it at school..

Reason #5 If your internet presence is not where it needs to be then you really don’t need to be jumping into the mix with a widget. To begin with, how do you rank organically in the search engines. What about any type of online presence? Does it exist? It’s one thing to brand a new product, but how about establishing some branding objectives for an existing product or company? What if your outfit has some negative stuff out there in cyberspace? What’s a widget going to do?

Customer service 101 and our monthly email blast

Reason #6 If you’re not talking to your customers, then you have no idea what your customers would want from a widget. If your marketing efforts are intrusion based, then chances are your widget would be the same.  If you’re talking at them, then chances are, your widget is going to miss the mark. If your marketing efforts consist of a monthly email blast with hundreds of bounce backs, then you got it going on.

If we build it, they’ll come

Reason #7 If you think your widget is going to drive traffic and sales, then you’re missing the point. Widgets are about building brand loyalty. Successful widgets encourage, promote, gather, share, and provide ways to communicate with…ta da… your customer. And ultimately a successful widget is viral.

I heard it works, isn’t that enough?

Reason #8 You don’t know what you want, and you don’t even use them, nor do you have any familiarity about them. Ahh that makes sense, let’s do it! Doesn’t it make sense to test drive something before you adopt it? Before you launch something, shouldn’t you see if its something that you are comfortable with? Do some research, knucklehead, don’t just listen to me! Here’s a nice snippet on What is a good widget from Phil Butler.

Just do it, we’ll worry about the little stuff later

Reason #9 You can’t build it on the notion or the premise that you hope it will work. You need to have a clear idea of why you’re doing it and what your expectations are. Is your message clear or will it be? Do you know what you want the deliverables to be? How you are going to measure the results?  If building a widget is something that came up in a meeting, move onto something more tangible.

The competition is doing it and thats good enough for me

Reason #10  Widgets can be and are a logical extension of your brand, but only if you’re knee deep in the online world.  You can’t just have a brochure ware type of site and expect that to be enough to push your brand over the top with a widget supporting it. The customer, the user, that you are trying to reach, is doing more now with the tools provided, than ever before.  Widgets, blogs, pod-casts, online video, pr, and microsites/landing pages are all ways to extend the reach of your brand online. But first things first. Make sure your offline house is in order and then do the requisite online things necessary before you even think about having the conversation about launching a widget. 

Have you had success building and launching a widget? have a horror story? Know of a clueless boss? What Sayeth you?