One of my favorite pieces of writing advice is “kill your darlings.” Nobody is 100% who said it first, although it’s kind of attributed to Faulkner, but it basically means: your favorite line is often the line you should cut.
This isn’t just because destroying the things you love is a fun artsy thing to do (although it definitely can make you feel deep for a while.) It’s actually because of something that the less artsy tech/business crew would call “product/market fit.”
Basically, a good product/market fit means that there is a) a substantial group of real people who need and want your product and b) enough of a gap in the current market such that there’s room for you to grab a share.
If there’s no product/market fit, it’s time to kill your darlings.
I’ve wondered if maybe forcing myself to write about things I’ve been thinking about years is just saving darlings that should have been killed, but most of the things I didn’t write were personal pieces that I avoided because of fear and exhaustion. Except for one.
I’ve always prided myself on always honoring commitments and completing assignments for work (even if it meant staying up all night), but I was recently reminded that there was one work assignment I bailed on this year.
One of my work/nerd hobbies is thinking up ways to compare anything (and everything) to B2B marketing (which is what my company does). My boss, a while back, as a joke, asked that I write a post called “What B2B Marketers Can Learn From the Police Album Synchronicity.”
I told him “I’d think about it” (aka indefinitely postpone doing it) but months later, during a particular stressful time when I was mostly working 7 days a week and spending my Saturday nights looking up diseases I might have, I decided to actually listen to the album and see what I could come up with.
I decided I could make the following claims:
- “Every Breath You Take” is a song about multi-channel lead nurture and personalization based on each phase of the buyer’s journey
- “Wrapped Around Your Finger” is a song about how to build long-term customer relationships, succeeding with a SaaS model, clinching MMR and finally having an easy pathway to upsells and advocacy. You see, in the beginning, you worship the customer, but at the end, the servant becomes the master
- “King of Pain” is about how long the B2B sales cycle can be, especially if your competitors are getting to your prospects first and they can’t find the information they need on your website
- The whole album is about merging data silos. You see, fun fact: Synchronicity was actually recorded in silos – with all the bickering artists in separate places. Only when all the “data” came together in one unified album, could the best of album of all time* be released. Similarly, B2B marketers need all the disparate data to come together in order to effectively stalk every breath their prospects take or wrap their customers around their fingers.
I actually had a blast coming up with this list, but I never wrote it because I couldn’t come with an intro. And I couldn’t come up with an intro because frankly, I didn’t think there was a product/market fit. More specifically, I didn’t think there was anyone in the world who really needed this content. It wasn’t timely, relevant or action-oriented.
So, darling as it was, I killed it. But I reconsidered it this week, because I remembered that in order to determine product/market fit, you have to know your market.
I don’t know mine at all (I may not actually have one) but I do that there are like 2.5 people who might appreciate this post. Plus, there’s me, who is hoping this is close enough to the real thing to make my boss stop asking me why I never did it.
*According to some people