Sunday, December 10, 2006

Great Inventions or Great Marketing

It took me most of the day to get caught up from travels last week. I really need to polish my systems. I have good people, I need to let them do more without my oversight. I likely am adding less value than I want in many cases. Analysing where those areas are.

Is it great inventions or great marketing that makes a company? Tatsuya Nakagawa argues it is marketing that makes the company successful and has a persuasive podcast on the subject.

I agree and I don't. Only superior products can be marketed easily. In many cases, companies spend money trying to market second rate products where often that money would be better spent improving the product or the value proposition. And the better the product or offering, the more likely it is to take less marketing to make the product a success. The best success comes from remarkable products that people voluntarily tell others about. Seth Godin calls this sneezing.

One product that I tell everyone about (that I don't sell or make anything on) is Nike Free runing shoes. Not for the better exercise they suggest or any of those benefits. I love them because they are small and can be easily packed. When I travel, I always go carry on so space is at a premium. Nike Free solves part of that. And of course i am passionate about my Toyota Prius. It costs about the same as any other car in that size class and gets almost double the mileage. They work great, good interior space. And whats more they have serious cool factor. I don't see why more people don't choose them.

I love marketing but need good products or services to be able to market passionately. And what is the point in marketing if it cannot be done with passion?

5 Comments:

At 8:37 AM, Anonymous Andy Strote said...

We used to say that the worst thing for a bad product was good marketing. Everyone would rush out to try it once, be disappointed, never re-buy and tell their friends to avoid it. In a similar vein, when beer companies introduce a new beer, they know within 6 months whether it will be a "keeper" or not. Within the first 3 months, everyone who is prone to trying a new beer will have bought a case and tried it. Within 6 months, they will have had the chance to buy their second case. Or not. The companies don't kill the brand immediately, but they know. Given the amount of inoformation on the Web today, it's very tough for a lousy product to make it in the long run.

 
At 9:15 AM, Anonymous Chris Knight said...

Hey Jim,

I bought the Nike Free's model a few months ago and just didn't like them as much as I thought I would.

They feel good without socks on, but I'm usually a guy who likes to wear shoes WITH socks.

I bet triathletes would love the Nike Free model.

For me, I've been enjoying the Nike Shox Turbo Oz for the past 2 years as my favorite running and daily use model with Hi-Tec brand for when I'm playing racquetball or doing speed/agility drills that require lateral movement.

Always enjoy your blog. :-)

 
At 10:53 AM, Anonymous Alex Revai said...

Jim,

The late president of Control Data Corporation (CDC), Bill Norris said something to the effect: "Anybody and his dog can design a great product, but to sell it...well, that takes a real genius". A good, reliable product (especially in the technology market) is often the cost of entry and not a real differentiator. In our affluent society, "things" are highly disposable. Lasting quality (in favor of price) - regrettably - is often unappreciated. "If it breaks, we'll get another". (It will be obsolete anyway, before it breaks.) I'm afraid we live in a society, where, especially the younger generation, doesn't even know what good quality loooks like.

 
At 10:59 AM, Anonymous Tatsuya Nakagawa said...

Hi Jim,

Thank you for your post.

Passion is really important, but it's a double edged sword. From our experience, inventions (products) are created by people passionate about their ideas, but their ideas are not necessary validated through proper marketing processes. Companies that fall in love with their products and believe that their "products will sell themselves" are usually the ones that fail.

The connection we made is that great marketing processes create products that are superior in the eyes of the customer. 90,000 new products are introduced every year so there isn't much room for bad products. We are not defining marketing in the sense of advertising and other sales related and supportive activities, but rather as the process of anticipating, identifying and satisfying customer requirements profitably.

It's funny that you should mention Toyota cars because we recently wrote an article featured on the International Product Marketing and Management Association site about Ford ("FORD'S ATTEMPT TO REGAIN TOUCH WITH THE MARKET"). This article tackles this exact issue. I hope you like it.

http://tinyurl.com/yjknoy


Tatsuya Nakagawa

 
At 1:10 AM, Blogger Paul Speziale said...

I agree with Mr. Nakagawa whole heartedly. I have seen too many potential clients come to me with products they "bet the farm" on and it just wasn't something the public wanted. Fall in love with the market not the product.

Now, a good copywriter (or marketer) can position a product several different ways to see if different appeals connect with the market. But Jim's right, if you have a bad product, then it's all wasted.

 

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