The art of product

Getting from ideas to delighted customers

Going Deeper

Inspiration often comes from unusual sources. Jazz musician Wynston Marsalis  was asked “what do you do when things aren’t working and you are not making the progress that you would expect”.

Wynston’s answer was simple “You go deeper”.

Here is how I think about those situations where it feels like I am banging my head against a brick wall: it’s an opportunity.

If something isn’t work, then there is a reason it isn’t working. If you had seen a problem, then obviously you would have adjusted what you are doing or you would have fixed the problem. But you didn’t see a problem. Your plan should have worked. Or at least you were hopeful that it might work. And you tried a few variants Something isn’t right and you don’t know what it is. And this is an opportunity to find out.

But you’re going to have to ask questions you haven’t asked before.
You’re going to have to dig deep into those details. The answer is in those details.
You haven’t gone deep enough.

Not working? Time to dig deeper!


The Landing Page Example

It might be instructive to use an example.
People aren’t clicking the link on the landing page.
You’ve tried 5 different versions of the copy. And use 10 different images.
The conversion rate is 1%.

Going deeper would be to:

  • Track down some of the people who actually visited this page and didn’t click.
  • Get them on the phone.
  • Ask them why they didn’t click
    • Were they looking for something else?
    • Were they afraid of something?
    • Was there an unanswered question in their minds?
    • Were they unable to see how long it would take to be delivered?
    • Were they just at the research stage intending to buy later?
    • When is later? Did they actually come back?
    • Did they buy?
    • Were they comparing prices?
    • Did they then buy the cheapest?


How to go deeper

Perhaps you could put a chat box on the page. Using intercom or another SaaS solution can be implemented quickly and then you can start chats with the people visiting the page? Ask if you can help. What are people saying?
Can we identify a “problem”?

Assuming we can, we do similar things to identify the “solution”.
If people are just researching now, with the intention of buying in 3 days time – then what happens if we email them at that point?
What if we offer a discount? Or free shipping? Or a gaurantee of some sort?



Going deeper is a big concept.
It means you are not stuck.
If there’s a problem you haven’t solved yet, then involve more variables and data points.
And take responsibility for figuring it out.

About Patrick O'Malley