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Dog-Fooding

 

DisciplinesMarketing > Articles > Dog-Fooding

Description | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

If you are responsible for a product or service, be sure to show full commitment to it, especially when communicating with others. If at all possible use it, seriously, in your life. If you find any problems with using it, get these fixed. Make sure you are an expert on it and able to answer any question about it. Find out interesting background stories about it so you can weave these into your presentations. Always leave people knowing that you care deeply about your product.

In the words of an older saying, 'practice what you preach'.

Other things you can do to demonstrate dogfooding include:

  • Appear in your own advertisements.
  • Talk seriously and enthusiastically about the product with anyone you meet.
  • Show public shame and disappointment when there are public failures.
  • Take criticism of the product seriously, investigating it and fixing issues.
  • Encourage those who work for you to dogfood also.

Example

A company buys an office products company. Immediately the whole company group starts using these office products.

A local government area demands that its officers, including senior people, use public transport.

A restaurant makes sure that all staff get to eat everything on the menu. It also listens seriously to comments and makes appropriate changes.

Discussion

There is a story that the chief executive of a dog food company went into a shareholders meeting with a can of dog food. He opened it and ate it, telling the amazed audience that if it was good enough for him, it was good enough for any dog.

When you want to convince somebody to make some commitment, if they see you are not whole-heartedly committed, they may well be doubtful about what you are selling to them.

The use of the word 'dogfooding' is probably more widely known in the software industry, where developers are encouraged to use their own applications, than in other industries. This does not mean, of course, that other industries do not know or appreciate the concept.

A risk of dogfooding is that your attention to learning about your product and enthusiasm for it leads to blindness about the problems that 'real' consumers have, who do not use it as much as you. It is also important to understand how your customers use the product and the difficulties they may encounter along the way. It is not uncommon for companies to develop products, for example, with features that very few customers use and which serve more to confuse than help others customers.

See also

Confidence principle

 

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