If you aren’t already familiar with the “Help! My Business Sucks!” video podcast, I highly recommend you check it out as a potential resource. It’s both entertaining and highly educational – a great combination of qualities, in my opinion – and a recent episode illustrated very well one of my favorite mantras: marketing begins with product.
Too often when I hear someone use the term “marketing” when what the person really means is “promotion” – which is just one part of the traditional “marketing mix” of product, price, placement, and promotion. The conversation is inevitably along the following lines:
“We’re really not doing all that well with [fill in name of product or service].”
“Oh, really? What’s the problem?”
“Well, we’ve got a great product, but we just aren’t very good at marketing.”
If you ever hear yourself or someone else saying this, resist the temptation to respond with “So what are you doing to get the word out,” or something similar.
Instead, ask: “How do you know you have a great product?”
Thing is, for business purposes, a product is not “great” unless it is the right product for the right audience – and that audience is large enough to be a viable market. When these conditions are met, promotion has a tendency to become significantly less challenging.
I’m not saying that promotion will just take care of itself, mind you. It won’t. But as a recent “Help! My Business Sucks!” episode on In n Out Burger (see below) illustrates, a great product has a way of acting like a magnet for customers. In other words, it has a tendency to confirm its own greatness. For In n Out Burger, this translated into people being willing to wait three hours to buy a burger at a newly-opened store in Utah.
Wow. Three hours. For a burger!
Now, I am sure that In n Out ran plenty of ads, gave out coupons, and did all of the standard promotional stuff.
But 3 hours?
Nothing but a great product makes that happen.
So, here’s the question I am asking myself – and I challenge you to do the same: What would be the equivalent of a three-hour line for my products or services, and what do I need to change about them to make it happen?
Figure out the answer to that, and a great year lies ahead.
P.S. – Here’s the “Help! My Business Sucks” video: