What comes first, marketing or product? That was the subject of a passionate debate at one of my networking groups this week. I’ll keep the outcome back until the end of the post because I think the value is in how the debate went.
Google the answer
Whenever there is a question, lots of people immediate reach for a browser or app and pounce in the question to their favourite search engine. If you do that with product verses marketing you’ll get a lot of pro-marketing articles in your results.
That’s probably not too surprising as the exponents of marketing are pretty good at marketing what they do. The marketing 1st team obviously did the same as me as they quoted from many of the articles I read in their statements.
Product failure visibility
One of the arguments put forward by the marketing guys was that a lot of people have what they think is a good idea for a product but end up failing because there is no market for that product. They sp[end hours, days, weeks or even years perfecting something that nobody actually wants to buy. The marketeers argue that if you start with the marketing you find out if there is a market before you develop the product.
Dragons Den – the UK TV show where entrepreneurs pitch their products to get backing from investors was cited as the prime example. Most pitches get rejected ted because there isn’t a market.
Product failures are visible and, often painful for the inventor-entrepreneur. But test marketing fails just as often, if not more often. But because the marketing gets lost in the mass of daily messages we face it is pretty near invisible.
Product failures being more visible than marketing failures does mean that the marketing first approach is therefore right.
The common ground
The biggest thing to come out of the debate was the amount of common ground between the two sides.
- You must have a clear concept for your product as a minimum starting point.
- Market research is a fundamental ‘must have’, whether that is part of product development or marketing, or both.
- You need to have a clear target market – the idea that you could sell to everyone will only result in you selling to no-one if you don’t segment.
- Marketing can sell a bad product if there is a valid market.
- No amount of marketing will sell a brilliant product that doesn’t have a market.
The hour long debate concluded with a vote by the audience. And the winner was…..
Probably by around a 60:40 split
The reality is that the most successful businesses have great products, great marketing and phenomenal customer service. And to get there the plan builds in all three from the outset. If you focus on one aspect to the exclusion of the others you are likely to fail. That’s how visible product failures and hidden marketing ones occur.
When I talk to clients about how to leverage their LinkedIn profiles to grow their businesses I ask them what benefits their clients will get from buying their product or service and who those ideal clients are. We focus not on what the product or service is, but what it gives to the client. Product first but closely followed by who the product is for and the problem it solves.
If you’d like to have a chat about how you LinkedIn profile can position your product to your ideal target clients click on the link below and book a free 15 minute profile review. It could just change your perspective.