The art of listening: How communication influences the success of products that require explanation

5 min read
July 27, 2023 at 4:30 PM
In today's world, where there are more and more diverse and technologically advanced products, we increasingly encounter those that require detailed explanation. Whether complex software, innovative technologies or specialized services, the ability to successfully communicate these products lies in the art of communication. Without precise communication, the products and services do not develop their full potential.

The challenge with products that require explanation

Products that require explanation can be confusing and overwhelming for customers at first, and therefore occupy a special position in the way they should be communicated. It is important to recognize that first impressions are crucial. Inadequate communication can put off potential customers and cause them to lose interest in a product before they even understand the benefits. The goal should therefore be to develop clear and concise communications that enable customers to quickly grasp the core message and benefits of the product.


When is a product in need of explanation?

Every product initially has certain unique selling points that are communicated in marketing or sales and are thus "explained". However, there are various factors on which it depends whether a product requires explanation in the classic sense. These include:

  1. Novelty: When a product is new to the market, it may be unfamiliar to consumers and require explanation to facilitate understanding.
  2. Complexity: Products with technical, scientific or specialized features can be complex for consumers and may require additional information or guidance to understand their use.
  3. Unique Features: Products that offer unique or innovative features may need to be explained to clarify the value and benefits to the consumer:in.
  4. Industry-specific terms: Some industries may use technical terms or specific terminology that is incomprehensible to consumers. In such cases, it is important to ensure clear communication to avoid misunderstandings.

So if a new product is not intuitively usable, self-explanatory or already known, it is basically in need of explanation.


Products in need of explanation in the retail environment



For example, in retail environments, various products that require explanation can be found that complement the checkout with new and innovative technologies and open up new possibilities for customers. The target group differs according to technology and use case, and communication should be geared accordingly.

Whether stationary self-checkout, Scan & Go or mobilePOS - all these technologies have the potential to dissolve or sustainably change classic checkout zones. They also fulfill all the factors that describe a product's need for explanation. 

For customers who have been used to a classic checkout zone all their lives, it is unfamiliar to no longer have a central point of contact to pay for selected items. The novelty of the technologies brings a certain complexity for both customers and employees.

"Where can I pay?" is certainly a question customers ask as retailers move to innovative checkout options. If we take self-checkout terminals as an example, in-store communication can take place via prominently presented advertising materials that draw attention to the new checkout zone. Explainer videos, infographics, and employees can take confused customers by the hand and guide them through the new checkout process.

Understanding as the foundation of success

A large part of a product's success depends on deep customer understanding. They need to know how their target group communicates and what their needs are. Communication serves as a bridge between companies, employees and customers to build understanding in the first place. By using clear and understandable language patterns, concise descriptions and visual aids, companies can target their audience and help them understand the product. Effective communication builds trust and builds a solid foundation for success.

It must be ensured that communication is tailored to the needs and questions of the target group. Customers must be able to link the information to their problems and thus understand how the product in need of explanation will help them. If customers do not know how a product or technological innovation helps them with their problems, they have little incentive to test it. Answering frequently asked questions or providing practical examples can explain the benefits of the product from the customer's perspective. Approaches can also be to develop supporting materials such as user manuals, FAQs, online tutorials or training programs to help customers apply and use the product. Information materials can generate interest with a concise, meaningful sentence and thus create curiosity early on.


Why is it worth investing in products that require explanation?

If the decision is made to introduce new technologies or products, this should be accompanied by the decision to make the innovation understandable to customers. Products that require explanation often require a certain learning curve or adaptation period. However, once the product is understood and used successfully, this can lead to high customer satisfaction and loyalty. Satisfied customers are more likely to recommend the product to others and to buy it again, which can lead to positive brand awareness and increased sales in the long term.

Companies that can successfully launch products that require explanation also strengthen their market position. They are perceived as innovative and expert companies capable of tackling complex challenges. This can lead to a positive image and an edge over competitors in the long term.

If a product offers unique features, benefits or technologies that differentiate it from other products in the industry, it can provide a competitive advantage. In such a case, a well-defined, clear and careful communication strategy can help highlight the product's added value and set it apart from the competition.


5 Marketing & Communication Ideas for Products in Need of Explanation

As we have already noted, products that require explanation are a particular challenge for companies in marketing and communication. These products require a detailed explanation that should also be clear and precise in order to convince potential customers of their benefits. That's why we've put together five measures that help communicate products that require explanation in a comprehensible way.

  1. Communicate the added value: A product that requires explanation must offer the customer clear added value. A message that is clearly articulated and focuses on the benefits of the product can give customers the information they need to be convinced by the product. Show how it will help customers solve specific problems and improve their lives.
  2. Use understandable language: Technical jargon or complicated terms should be avoided if possible, unless absolutely necessary.  In most cases, a simple message helps information about a product be absorbed quickly. Pictures and examples can often illustrate complex relationships. 
  3. Storytelling and problem solving: A good product always solves a problem. One of the easiest ways to communicate the information that a problem is being solved for the customer is storytelling. For example, you can tell how you used to have to wait in line at the checkout for a long time and now - since new self-service checkouts have been introduced - you don't have to wait anymore and shopping therefore takes much less time. Such a story succinctly compiles information, communicates it in a way that helps customers, and makes it easier for them to decide to try the new technology.
  4. Provide explanatory content: In addition to a meaningful product description, additional materials should be provided to further explain the product. This could be a detailed manual, videos or tutorials, for example. This content will help customers understand the product and make their purchase decision easier.
  5. Use product tests and reviews: Customers know best what they like and what they don't. It can therefore help to ask them where they have unanswered questions or need further information and help. Conclusions can be drawn from this to better communicate products that require explanation and thus increase usage.





Marketing products that require explanation requires clear communication of the added value, simple and understandable language and message, and supporting materials. The focus should be on the customer-facing benefits and how the product solves the target group's problems. To do this, it is important to know the target group well and understand their needs. Products that require explanation are not self-explanatory, but require a certain investment to position them successfully. However, this offers the opportunity to stand out from the competition, improve one's image, increase customer loyalty and thus also sustainably increase sales.


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