Marketing vs Product: Which One Wins?

marketing vs product

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the Dan Kennedy quote, “Spend 10% of time on product creation and 90% of time on marketing the product.” In the marketing world, there are two general lines of thinking. Some marketers believe a good product will perform well in the market regardless of strategy, while others are convinced a clever marketing strategy can overcome inherent product flaws. These two schools of thought have long been at war, but which one is right? Today I’m making the case that marketing strategy is more important than a perfect product!

Reason #1: A Strong Product with Weak Marketing is a Recipe for Failure

These days you can’t just make your product available on the internet and expect the sales to come rolling in. Without a doubt, your product will be lost in a digital sea of thousands of other products. There is so much noise in the marketplace that, no matter how strong your product is, without vigorous marketing no one will know you exist, and your product will inevitably fail.

Reason #2: Marketing Leads to Brand Recognition

When customers recognize your product, there is a greater chance they’ll choose your product over one they aren’t familiar with—no matter which is “better.” This is the basic principle of brand recognition. Of course, an aggressive marketing strategy is the best way to generate the kind of widespread familiarity you need. Word-of-mouth, brand ambassadors and product evangelists can help boost product visibility, but the reality is that a great, unknown product can’t succeed without some serious outside intervention.

Reason #3: When it Comes to Sales, Perception is Everything

Let’s say you create an energy drink that is undeniably more tasty and energizing than the current market leader. But your target market already thinks the competition has the best energy drink available. Given that your established rival has created this subjective perception of their inferior drink by entering the market first, what can you do? Even if your energy drink is qualitatively better, you’ll need a very strong marketing strategy to change the perception and overtake your competitor. The sales won’t come just because your energy drink is better.

A solid marketing plan beats out a good product any day of the week. We’ve talked in previous posts about how your marketing strategy should be a part of your product creation process, and after this week it’s easy to see why. Dan Kennedy’s advice to spend 90% of your time on marketing isn’t crazy talk: it’s genius!

Want more info on marketing strategies? Contact the team at C3!

photo credit: Bigstock/snowing

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