What condom designers can teach the rest of us about product marketing.
There’s not a damn thing sexy about slipping on a rubber.
And, if we know anything about product marketing, it’s astoundingly tough to market an unsexy product.
To begin, the packaging is just horrendous — it doesn’t tear easily and many times when you do tear it, you don’t create a large enough opening to comfortably extract the condom from its wrapper.
So, lovemaking is awkwardly paused, momentarily, as you fetch a pair of tweezers to pry the condom through a tiny microscopic hole no larger than a thimble.
And, in the rare case that you do breezily extract the condom from its packaging with no hiccups, you or her slide it on your erect junk the wrong way. Or, forget to pinch the tip. This is embarrassing for both parties. We all like to feel like we’ve been up to bat before.
Then, once the beautiful act of lovemaking has come to a close and the two of you are laying sprawled out on the bed breathing heavily… do you know what smell fills the air?
That’s right. Your hands and your privates smell like they’ve spent the night in a latex factory.
And, while there are plenty of lovely smells in this world, there is not a single thing lovely about the smell of latex.
Hence my opening line…
There’s not a damn thing sexy about slipping on a rubber.
And, because of this lack of sexiness, folks are opting out of using them entirely.
It’s like the fucking 70s, baby.
Everyone is getting after it, skin to skin, and using the methods our ancestors used to protect against unplanned pregnancy — the trusty pull-out method*.
*Believe it or not, this is fairly effective — according to planned parenthood for every 100 people that perform the pull-out method effectively, only 4 get pregnant over the course of a year.
But, unfortunately, the pull-out method doesn’t protect against sexually transmitted diseases…
And, that’s where condom designers, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and damn good product marketing come into play.
The wild race for a better condom.
Back in 2013, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced they would be backing a next-generation condom.
While condom makers added a reservoir tip in the 1950s, there have been no major disruptions nor product developments over the past seven decades.
When you make this comparison to technology — say laptops, smartphones or software — it’s no wonder people aren’t using them.
Imagine using the first iPhone released in 2007, today.
Now, multiply that time gap by 3…
Folks aren’t using protection because they’re being asked to have sex with seven-decade-old condom technology.
Between a very noticeable lack of sensitivity for both partners (and everything I mentioned above)… people around the world have been opting out of using condoms entirely.
Unfortunately, creating a better condom is no easy feat. The rules and regulations hinder new players (a.k.a condom startups) and make innovation pricey — to bring something as simple as a rubber to the masses can take a decade and $10 million in product development.
However, with The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s generous backing, it’s now possible for new innovators to take on the condom giants. Thus far, we’ve seen one major disruptive condom brand emerge and while it wasn’t one funded by the next-generation condom project, it’s pretty badass.
The Hex Condom, a rubber inspired by the honeycomb.
If you’re not aware, I have a thing for bees and honey.
So, naturally, I’ve been swept away by this beautifully designed rubber called The Hex Condom*.
*It’s the sci-fi looking condom picture you saw at the beginning of this article.
Not only is it sunning from a simplicity standpoint but it looks like something out of Star Trek. Its hexagonal pattern gives it an innovative futuristic feel — something the dated condom industry desperately needs.
But, condoms and sex and STD prevention aside, The Hex Condom and this race for a better condom opens up some fascinating discussion points for entrepreneurs, marketers and snow cone vendors looking to perfect their product marketing.
The next-generation condom inspired commandments of product marketing.
Briefly, I wanted to share a few thoughts this condom craze has sparked in me in regards to product marketing. I thought there’d be some subtle but crude irony to call these takeaways the condom commandments. But, I digress.
- Product marketing begins with design — it’s damn challenging to market a shitty product so don’t design a shitty product to market.
- Product marketing is easier with pretty design — at the end of the day The Hex Condom is still just a condom, it’s just a prettier condom… when all else fails, design something prettier to market.
- Product marketing must focus on feeling versus function — condoms have been around since 3,000 B.C., everyone knows they work… the problem here isn’t functionality but feeling… The Hex Condom heavily focuses on feeling (or feeling like nothing is there) in their product marketing.
- Product marketing thrives in old industries made new — if a 2019 Rolls Royce rolled into the 1950s, people would pass the fuck out whilst emptying their saving’s accounts… if you can create innovative products and product marketing in dated industries you’ll sell like a Florida Snow Cone Vendor on the hottest day of the year.
- Product marketing should make the product seamless — nothing about putting on a condom is easy and because of this folks aren’t putting them on… marketers fail constantly at marketing seamlessness or baking seamlessness into their product design… one of my favorite brands is Gumroad who I actually chose to host my copywriting guide strictly off how damn easy it is for customers to make their payments through the platform.
Alright, so the moral of the story?
One, wear protection.
And, two, most of what we need to know in regards to product marketing can be learned from good condom design.
Happy marketing (& fornicating).
By Cole Schafer.
You gotta check this out — Sticky Notes is my email list reserved strictly for entrepreneurs and creatives looking to sell like a Florida Snow Cone Vendor on the hottest day of the year.