The Product is the Best Marketing Tool

by | May 1, 2006 | Marketing

Once upon a time, marketing was about hyping the benefits of a product in order to convince you to buy it. Whether you were happy didn’t matter much, because you already had your money and had moved on to other customers.

In a contemporary consumer society, however, that’s thankfully no longer a sustainable marketing method. People talk now. They compare. They post their reactions on message boards and websites where the whole world can find them.

Every single customer has the power to crush your reputation.

For that reason, your product itself is the first and most important marketing medium. No Super Bowl ad, full-page spread in the New York Times, or free clock radio has as much long-term marketing power as simply creating a great product.

Take my agency as an example. The slick website, the expensive business cards, the press releases, etc., are simply supporting materials. Nearly all of our work comes from referrals from customers who have thought Wow, that was great. I’ve got to tell people about these guys.

I doubt that we’ll ever really promote the agency through traditional advertising channels because the money and time would be better spent improving the experience for our existing customers. By providing high-quality products and services, we’ve generated more referral business than we know what to do with.

Unfortunately, this puts marketing directors in a difficult position. They’re still stuck in a company structure in which they can have little effect on the actual goods being sold.

It’s a shame, because that’s where they’re most needed.

Tags:
When Does Skim Pricing Make Sense?

When Does Skim Pricing Make Sense?

Skim pricing is a pricing strategy in which a company sets a high initial price for a product or service, and then gradually lowers the price over time. This strategy is often used when introducing a new product or when there is a high level of demand for a product or...

Marketing Truths No One Will Admit

Marketing Truths No One Will Admit

In a recent thread on /r/marketing, the question was asked, "What is something no one in marketing will admit, but is definitely true?" While some of the answers in the thread were obviously snarky or pessimistic, there were also several answers that held a lot of...

The Product Design Pyramid

The Product Design Pyramid

If you make it to the top, you'll have one of the best and most delightful products in your market The product design and user experience design industries are full of vague phrases like "delightful experiences" without a lot of specifics about how to get there. Many...

Smart People Always Want to Mess This Up

Smart People Always Want to Mess This Up

Several weeks ago, my company released a new product: a tool that helps small service businesses with client follow-up. We did it very quietly, late one night after most of the department had gone home. A few of the product leaders made the decision, flipped the...

Five Pillars of Social Media Marketing

Five Pillars of Social Media Marketing

It's easy to get whipped up into the hype of social media marketing. Maybe you're just getting started with a new brand account, or maybe you've just been put in charge of all the company's existing followers. Either way, here are some basic principles that'll help...

Purpose-Driven Companies Make More Money

Purpose-Driven Companies Make More Money

“A real purpose can’t just be words on paper. It has to get under the skin of every member of your organization…. If you get it right, people will feel great about what they’re doing, clear about their goals, and excited to get to work every morning.”— Roy SpenceWhen...

What’s Your Company’s Internal Compass?

What’s Your Company’s Internal Compass?

One of the hardest questions we ask in our discovery workshops is also one of the simplest and most fundamental: “Why does your company exist?”You’d think most CEOs would have a ready (and passionate) response to that question, but most don’t. When asked that...