#016: The How of Wow [Podcast]

In this episode, I talk about “The How of Wow.“ If you are going to be successful in getting the attention of the market, you will need to start with something remarkable. In this episode, I define wow and how you can create it by answering five questions.

This Is Your Life Podcast, Episode #016

If you have read my new book, Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World, you know that the first section of the book is called, “Start with Wow.” This is the first step in building a platform. Why? Because of something David Ogilvy said two generations ago: “Great marketing only makes a bad product fail faster.”

Click to Listen


Episode Outline

The purpose of marketing is to prime the pump. But if people aren’t wowed by your product and want to use it, they won’t recommend it to their friends. In other words, you won’t get word-of-mouth promotion.

You can’t spend enough money or be clever enough to overcome a lack of word-of-mouth marketing. It just won’t work. This is especially true in the world of social media, because it accelerates the word-of-mouth process. Why? Because of two facts:

  1. Everyone now has a megaphone.
  2. Everyone is connected to everyone else.

So what is wow? Here’s how do I define it:

Wow is the gap that exists between your prospect’s expectation and his or her experience.

  • If that gap is negative—your customer’s experience doesn’t live up to his expectation—he is disappointed. This is the opposite of wow.
  • If that gap is positive—your customer’s experience exceeds his expectation—he is wowed.

I first noticed this a few years ago when Steve Jobs introduced the first iPhone back in 2007. As I reflected on his presentation, I came away with three insight into wow:

  • Insight #1: Create products you would personally use.
  • Insight #2: Create products that solve problems in unexpected ways.
  • Insight #3: Create products that exceed your customers’ expectations.

My premise for this episode is this: Wow can be engineered. Not perfectly. Not every time. But once you understand what wow is simply a function of exceeding your customer’s expectations, you have a much better chance of making it happen.

You can create wow by asking five QUESTIONS.

  • Question #1: What is the product or experience I want to create or transform into a wow?
  • Question #2: How will the customer or prospect feel as a result of this experience? (In other words, what is the specific outcome you want to create?)
  • Question #3: What specific expectations does the typical customer bring to this experience?
  • Question #4: What does failing to meet customers’ expectations for this experience look like?
  • Question #5: What does exceeding customers’ expectations for this experience look like

Here’s the bottom line, if we want to win in today’s competitive marketplace—if we want to build a powerful platform, we must start with wow. Without it, we can’t achieve our full potential.

Listener Questions

  1. Question #1: “Blessing Mpofu asked, How do you constantly create new and fresh material to become a thought leader?”
  2. Question #2: Claire Dias-Ortiz asked, “How can you best turn blog content into the early draft of a new book?”
  3. Question #3: J.D. Smith asked, Where should the Wow be located, on your homebase or in the outposts? Should it be from the author’s perspective or the listener or readers’?
  4. Question #4: John Richardson asked, “Is there such a thing as too much wow?”
  5. Question #5: Joseph Lalonde asked, “When you are releasing a new product, how do you gauge what your customer’s expectations are?”
  6. Question #6: Mary DeMuth asked, “How does creating wow tie in with doing your one thing well?”
  7. Question #7: Rebecca Livermore asked, “How can I come up with ideas that are creative and unique?”
  8. Question #8: Tor Constantino asked, “How do you know when you have created wow?”
  9. Question #9: Wanda Ball asked, “If I am not getting comments and traffic, how do I know if my content is wow?”

Special Announcements

  1. I am hosting a live Platform Teleseminar on June 19, 2012 at 7:00 p.m. CT. It is free, but you must register. We have a limited number of seats based on band-width. You can find out more here.
  2. I will be speaking at the Shelby International Conference (June 14, 2012) and the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference (September 21, 2012). I will be speaking at a number of private corporate events in between. If you are interested in having me speak at your event, please visit my Speaking page.

Episode Resources

In this episode I mentioned, How to Blog Your Book. I have not yet read it, but the author gave me a copy at BlogWorld, and it looks fascinating.

Show Transcript

You can download a transcript of this episode here.

If you have enjoyed this podcast, please subscribe:

RSS Feed

Your Feedback

I want to hear from you! Please leave me a voicemail with your question. I may use it on the next episode of my show. If you have an idea for a podcast you would like to see or a question about an upcoming episode, e-mail me.

Also, if you enjoyed the show, please rate it on iTunes and write a brief review. That would help tremendously in getting the word out! Thanks.

Question: What is the biggest obstacle you face today to creating wow? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
Get My New, 3-Part Video Series—FREE! Ready to accomplish more of what matters? 2015 can be your best year ever. In my new video series, I show you exactly how to set goals that work. Click here to get started. It’s free—but only until Monday, December 8th.

Get my FREE video series now!

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are snarky, offensive, or off-topic. If in doubt, read My Comments Policy.

  • http://www.facebook.com/garethmulholland Gareth Mulholland

    I believe in WOW – but where do you decide to apply the 80:20 rule and say that a product / process / service is ‘good enough’?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      This is a challenge. I don’t think there’s a science to it. You can’t let the pursuit of wow become an excuse to procrastinate.

  • http://networkgooder.com Lee Glass

    I think Time is my biggest obstacle.  I have many great ideas, but finding time to implement them seems to be a tremendous task.  However, I am compartmentalizing my tasks and attempting to work on them piece by piece. 

    • http://www.heartyourchurch.com/ Jason Stambaugh

      It’s one step a time Lee. Keep up the good work!

  • http://blog.cyberquill.com/ Cyberquill

    Alright, let’s do this: replace one word in the title of your top 5 favorite movies with “wow.” 

    Here are my selections: 

    1. Some Like It Wow
    2. Arsenic and Old Wow
    3. A Few Wow Men
    4. Pushing Wow
    5. Wow

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      My favorites:

      1. Lord of the Wow
      2. Brave Wow
      3. Father of the Wow
      4. An Officer and a Wow

    • http://www.kellycombs.com/ Kelly Combs

      In no particular order:

      1. My Dog Wow 
      2. Wow of Madison County 
      3. Facing Your Wow 
      4. Wow Woman
      5. Shawshank Wow

      • Kathleen McAnear Smith

        …and may I add….”Boradcast Wow!”

    • http://twitter.com/JoshuaWRivers Joshua Rivers

      1. Indiana Wow
      2. Pirates of the Wow
      3. The Santa Wow
      4. The Pursuit of Wow
      5. Men in Wow

    • Jrbdanish58

      Cat on a hot tin WOW
      American WOW
      Mission WOW
      Passion of the WOW
      NCIS WOW

    • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

      My Favorites…

      1. Vertiwow
      2. Wow Window
      3. Forrest Wow
      4. The Dead Wows Society
      5. North by Wowwest

    • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

      Wow! Am I ever late to the party.

      1. My Cousin Wow
      2. The Princess Wow
      3. The Neverending Wow
      4. The Wow Man
      5. The Truth About Cats and Wow (only because I recently watched this on video; not necessarily a favorite)

  • http://jonstolpe.com/ Jon Stolpe

    One of my biggest challenges in creating WOW is finding the time to process and create to that level.  I guess it’s a matter of priorities, but life can be pretty busy with a job, a marriage, a family with two middle school students, and everything else that goes with it.

  • http://www.alslead.com/ Dave Anderson

    My challenge has been to get away from the tasks I have created for myself in building my Platform and creating the level of products that will start the WOW train.

    My tasks are good, Blogging 3 times a week, meetings with potential clients etc.  But I need to make the time to build the next level of products that will help me monetize what I am doing to create SWIS.  (Sales While I Sleep).

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I hear you on SWIS. That’s where I have been focusing a lot of effort this year.

  • http://www.thegeezergadgetguy.com/ Thad Puckett

    I think WOW happens in fits and starts.  It is a set of actions that can be developed, and as they are, we can move WOW toward consistency.

    If we wait til we have mastered WOW to start attempting it, we probably will never WOW anyone.

    • http://jeremystatton.com/ Jeremy Statton

      I agree, Thad. Wow is often found through trying and then discovering what doesn’t work. Keep poking the box.

  • http://www.sprolesfamilycares.com/ Tom Sproles

    As a funeral director and owner of three funeral homes, my biggest obstacle to creating wow is simply allowing the routine to crown out creative thoughts.  It is the small unexpected things that create wow.  Yesterday we had a service for a gentleman who loved birds, in fact his granddaughter had taken a picture of a cardinal in his bird feeder in the yard.  We turned that into a custom panel in the lid of his casket.  Created some wow for the family. 

  • http://sparkvoice.wordpress.com/ DS

    For me the greatest challenge I continually face is time.  Taking the time to plan, prepare, and execute. 

    The difference in a WOW experience and a non-WOW is huge.  For instance – I went to JCP yesterday.  Departments are closed, there are less workers, training on new policies hasn’t been effective, and they seem to have lost their sense of identity.  No wonder they had their worst quarter in forever!

    I want to avoid that feeling.

    • http://jeremystatton.com/ Jeremy Statton

      Good example. It sounds depressing.

    • http://www.kellycombs.com/ Kelly Combs

      That is so interesting, because our JCP has executed the changed well at their store.  They revamped the store in January, and had a “re-opening” in February with their new pricing program. I am a fan of it. 

      I think most stores in general are having a hard time in this economy. It’s rough times.

  • http://www.kellycombs.com/ Kelly Combs

    Great podcast, as always. I have a friend who is attending the Shelby Conference and looking forward to seeing you there. I’d love to be in the “killer blog post” session! Enjoy.

  • http://www.danapittman.com Dana Pittman

    I have a WOW idea. But it seems so big that I either shy away or I believe I lack the resources needed to make it a WOW experience. Any suggestions?

    • http://twitter.com/JoshuaWRivers Joshua Rivers

      Do you have any people that you feel comfortable sharing the idea with? Preferably it would be someone that can give you an honest opinion and not just be a “yes man”.  Try reading this article from Chris LoCuro: 

      • http://www.danapittman.com Dana Pittman

        Joshua, I had. They love it and believe it’s needed. Sharing it with a couple of friends now has me in the “hot seat”. They are now keeping me accountable for my progress. I will check out the article as well. Thank you.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I would re-read my section on wow in Platform and also the chapter on Thinking Bigger. Don’t shy away from it!

      • http://www.danapittman.com Dana Pittman

        Michael, your book is what pushed it over the edge. LOL! In a good way… But I’ve decide to stop waiting. I plan to work on it to the extent that I see it. Stop selling it short. I believe then it’s in God’s hands. So far, unexpected resources have surfaced. But it’s still has me shaking in my shoes. Thanks for the feedback.

  • http://twitter.com/JoshuaWRivers Joshua Rivers

    I believe I have created a WOW product, I just need a platform to work from. I didn’t realize this need until recently, otherwise I would have been working on this years ago. Thanks for the book now, though. I’ve listened to the audio and perused the e-book while waiting for the print book to arrive.

    • http://jeremystatton.com/ Jeremy Statton

      Sounds like you are one step ahead of most, Joshua.

  • Kathleen Mcanear Smith

    Thank you for your podcast today. My biggest obstacle to getting out the wow factor is my lack of two things: 
    1. tech ability to do what I want2. just about zero money to pay someone else to do the techStill, I continue to try and God continues to guide me; as through my Pastor (First Baptist Venice, Florida-Pastor Chris) I learned about you! So, step by step; some day a flourishing website and blog that will give the wow factor to the marketing of the books I write.Kathleen McAnear SmithAuthor: Parents on the Move!Beyond Broken Families

  • http://www.thedailyretort.com/ TorConstantino

    Another great episode. I really like the idea you offered toward the end of asking readers about the “WOW” quality of the content – it’s real time focus-group-testing. Thanks for the idea!

  • Pingback: How to WOW with your vision. | JD Smith()

  • Jill Nutter

    I’ve  listened to Platform about 6 times in my car since I bought the audio version. That’s how I get things to sink into my head. :).  You have a great voice for audio.   I write under the pen name Jillian Kent. I’ve got a great historical series out, great reviews, I blog weekly (can’t keep up with the three anymore), and I’m doing as much as I can to WOW! With so many books on the shelves and in e-book I’m wondering how long it will take to WOW! I think part of it is a matter of tenacity and thinking out of the box.

    Pride and WOW!
    You’ve Got WOW! (love that!) :)
    Gone With the WOW!
    To Kill a WOW!
    Die WOW!

  • kcroy

    Great post! I also worry that I focus too much on Wow! and not enough on finishing.  I really need help finishing.  Help!

  • http://talesofwork.com/ kimanzi constable

    Another great episdoe Michael and so cool to see fellow Platform memebers questions. The “wow” has made me reconsider a product I am working on.

  • J Romano

    my most challenging obstacle to creating wow is choosing the focus, there are so many ideas swimming around in my head it’s difficult to decide on which one will translate into  optimum expansion

    • http://jeremystatton.com/ Jeremy Statton

      I agree, J. It is difficult to create wow while jumping around from project to project.

  • http://www.MessiahsMandate.org/ Ron Cantot


  • http://BrentFielder.com Brent Fielder

    This podcast was a great thing to listen to this morning as I ran – 

    My question that comes to mind is HOW do you get a WOW on everything you produce with a small team or workforce?I know you work solo on most of your tasks, so how do you produce WOW when sometimes your task lists/work team says get it out there sooner more than better?  I think it is more a question of managing my priorities and defining stakeholder expectations on the front it…

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I don’t think you can make everything a wow. There just aren’t enough resources. Instead you must be strategically selective. Decide where it matters most and make that a wow.

  • Dan Erickson

    My product is a book, but what I’m really offering is a story about forgiveness and non-judgment.  I’m working on the Wow!  On the other hand, I don’t like to wave my own book around saying “look at me, look at me, I wrote a book.”  So it’s a dilemma for me.  In regards to the idea of “wow,” it’s a lot like “cool.”  I teach communication courses and I show my students a PBS video about the “cool makers.”  The thing about “cool” and I would say, “wow,” too, is that they are always changing.  What’s wowing people today is already old.  You have to have vision as to what’s going to wow them tomorrow.  http://www.danerickson.net

  • Edi Balian

    The challenge I find with WOW is to consistently bring it every week – especially when I preach and teach. I know the difference when I do and when I don’t. But I must confess the times I don’t other things have gotten in the way of the prep or I had lost some focus. 

    Thanks for the great podcast!!!!

    Keep them coming!

  • http://www.thenancyway.com/ Nancy Roe

    My biggest obstacle is myself.  I liked what you said that “the originality of who I am” makes all the difference.  Thanks for being such a positive influence.

  • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

    I enjoyed your podcast on my commute today. Thanks for including my question. I have an additional question: I have an idea for a new product that I can build by combining two current products together (based around an iPad cover). Instead of trying to build it myself, how would I go about having it fabricated. Do you know if there is a company that I could contact that develops new products?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      You got me there, John. I don’t know anyone.

  • Pingback: Does Previously Published Blog Content Turn Away Publishers? | How to Blog a Book()

  • Steph Shackelford

    Michael, I appreciated your comment on originality and that what is unique is your personal experiences. However, this is also my main obstacle since I am only 23. How do I create a “wow” with limited experience? Is it best to seek out an audience that is younger than me? Or could older adults appreciate my experiences even if they err on the side of naivety? 

  • http://christopherbattles.net/ Christopher Battles

    Thank you Michael.
    The part about looking at the reception lobby was great.

    K, bye

  • Pingback: Calling New People At Church Guests Instead Of Visitors | Calum Henderson()

  • Melanie Marttila

    I think my inexperience is my biggest barrier.  I just started blogging in March and I’m still finding my groove.  I’ve stayed true to myself though, and have a pretty good showing, given the short period of time that I’ve been developing my platform. I’ve posted 76 times, has 55 comments, and 44 followers.  I don’t think that’s bad at all :)  My understadning is that it takes time, and since I’m still working on my novel, I have a bit of that.  Being a writer with a day job means that my SoMe activity has to be curtailed a bit.  Otherwise, I don’t get anything done.  Balance in all things.
    Thanks for your podcast.  It’s right up my alley as both a writer and as a corporate trainer.

  • Ed Wise

    Love the concept of wow and continue to wrestle with how to do this with my website (and blog(www.wiseinsurancegroup.com/blog)).  The real question is when you don’t have a wow product, how do you bring that wow into the experience & content?  Open to any and all comments!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I think that part of it is redefining your product. Your product is the TOTAL customer experience.

  • Pingback: WOW! « developingsteve()

  • John1908

    My biggest challenge as a I build my platform is focus and discipline. I’ve realized that too many ideas is confusing to my audience. My goal is too identify with content that I’m passionate about first and then confirm with my audience that what I’m sharing is valuable. This concept is expressed in Ken Blanchard’s book Raving Fans as “decide what you want”.
    Thanks for asking and thanks for helping people like me build meaningful platforms.

  • Pingback: Learning Leadership()

  • Pingback: The Only 2 Things Leaders Can Control | Christopher L. Scott | Biblical Leadership()

  • Pingback: 3 Ways to Make Your Products Remarkable | Michael Hyatt()