Make Marketing History

The views of a marketing deviant.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Marketing Is Not An Expense.

Marketing is the price you pay for creating mediocre products.

That's a phrase that was apparently repeated at a panel at SXSW. It went down well, but it's so wrong. Without knowing the context, I can only observe that it sounds like yet another example of the tendency (prevalent in geekdom and beyond) to believe that marketing and advertising/promotion are synonomous and that great products sell themselves. They're not and they probably won't.

If you create mediocre products, you probably will have a high price to pay but it won't be an increased marketing spend - indeed you're already behind the eight-ball in that respect because marketing starts with deciding what products/services you can develop to best meet customer needs in a certain area. If this leads to mediocrity then your marketing effort is wrong-headed already and frankly there's not much point paying a price in promotional expenditure.

If you create great products, you're in much better shape obviously but you still need to distribute, support and communicate in order to ensure they sell. That may not involve advertising or direct marketing style promotion. It may not even cost you much. But it most certainly will involve marketing.

Marketing is not an expense, it's an investment cost that is inherent in the creation of your product/service from development through promotion and distribution and on to the sales experience and post-sales service. That's a subtle accounting distinction but a crucial one. The price you pay for not understanding marketing is much worse than mediocre products - it's commercial extinction.


Blogger Unknown said...

you are so right.

if only accounting, VC, CFOs, CMOs could understand that marketing is in fact part of the sales process and not a frill or an extra. i guess we can dream
B.L. Ochman
What's Next Blog

3:25 PM, March 14, 2008  
Blogger john dodds said...

Or we can keep telling people till they get it.

5:32 PM, March 14, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i wasn't at SxSW this year but i'm pretty sure this was a diluted rebroadcast of this quote made semi famous in 2007: "Advertising is a tax you pay for being unremarkable." attributed to the founder of Geek Squad. much more focused critique implied of traditional image advertising. more details in this businessweek article

for obvious reasons (my livelihood, ahem), i'm with you for the most part in your defense of marketing. i firmly believe that there's so much room to make it better, more relevant and more useful to people than how it's come to be defined over the past 150 odd years.

6:56 PM, March 14, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

do we really need more products anyway?

aside from that, great post. you just have to ask the kids who developed betamax about the importance of marketing as an intrinsic aspect of good product.

5:38 AM, March 15, 2008  
Blogger john dodds said...

Thanks for that Paul - that Vulkan gets everywhere.

12:31 PM, March 15, 2008  
Blogger Rob Mortimer (aka Famous Rob) said...

Absolutely Lauren, Beta was a far better product than VHS in most areas.

Maybe that phrase needs reasserting, as its heart is in the right place:

Something like...
The excess cost of marketing over your competitors = (The lesser quality of your products + Lack of understanding of marketing)

4:17 AM, March 17, 2008  
Blogger john dodds said...

Rob Now I see why you're a planner and not a copywriter.

4:47 AM, March 17, 2008  
Blogger Rob Mortimer (aka Famous Rob) said...

Hahaha, dare I ask what specifically made you notice?

5:07 AM, March 17, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My observation is that many high-tech companies jump with joy that they're saving money by cutting out the marketing function, but what they fail to realise is that they lose even more money by hiring and managing an army of peddlers and sending them out to dial for dollar and combat gatekeepers for appointments.

And since people hate peddlers, they have no hope in hell to meet the highest calibre buyers.

The other problem is that with this approach the company loses it's position as a trusted technology advisor and becomes a fungible vendor a dreaded peddler.

I believe that it's marketing that makes it possible for agile low-headcount firms to outperform high-headcount behemoths.

The funny thing is that some many high-tech firms spend the king's ransom on technology and either ignore marketing or hire some minimum-wage kids to create cute slogans and fancy logos. And when they start flashing this stuff to the market's face, they call it marketing.

I think this is one of the reasons why so many five year old or even older high-tech companies can't stay alive without investor's money. The very function that would create the money - marketing - is missing.

And now back to my porridge.

8:22 AM, March 17, 2008  
Blogger Rob Mortimer (aka Famous Rob) said...

Saving money by cutting out marketing is a bit like saving money on a car by removing a wheel.

8:45 AM, March 17, 2008  
Blogger john dodds said...

Tom - I think you earned your porridge with that comment and amongst many salient observations, you reminded us that marketing has a big role to play in removing the reasons for people to say no - as much as it gets them to say yes.

Rob - pithier this time, but still needs work ;O)

10:00 AM, March 17, 2008  
Blogger Rob Mortimer (aka Famous Rob) said...

Well, that's one of the problems with posting on coffee breaks. You don't have time to filter things down as much!

3:20 AM, March 18, 2008  
Blogger Rachel Luxemburg said...

As a marketer, this post is preaching to the choir, but I agree. Well said.

2:48 PM, March 18, 2008  
Blogger Robert said...

The only guarantee you can get with marketing is that if you don't do it, you're definitely going to be fucked.

8:42 AM, March 19, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...




7:04 AM, March 21, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

nike tnEnter the necessary language
translation, up to 200 bytes winter, moves frequently in Chinanike chaussures showing that the deep strategy of the Chinese market. Harvard Business School, tn chaussures according to the relevant survey data show that in recent years the Chinese market three brands, Adidas, Li Ning market share at 21 percent, respectively,

8:21 PM, May 17, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Puma shoes , Ugg Boots , nike max shoes, NIKE AIR MAX TN ,nike max shoes ,PUMA CHAUSSURES, NIKE SHOX Torch ,puma Ferrari F1 ,PUMA DRIFT CATmens clothing men's sweate, cheap columbia jackets, lacoste sweater, ralph lauren polo shirts,ski clothing. Free Shipping, PayPal Payment. Enjoy your shopping experience on mensclothingstore.Us

8:21 PM, May 17, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

puma femmes stores offer you the most popular fashion shoes, including the puma basketpuma puma BanXie and shoes. All the puma product factory direct sale, special processing, create the most inexpensive puma stores.National Weather Service Meteorologist Jason puma CAT said this week's temperatures will mirror seasonable averages of highs around 71 and lows about 42 degrees ...

8:21 PM, May 17, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Paypal payment. Free shipping. cheap ugg boots ,UGG Online Store,australian cheap ugg boots ,ugg boots australia,UGG Online Store,black ugg boots,ugg boots on sale,cheap uggs. Very Cheap!Vente en ligne de discount chaussure sport : chaussure puma, chaussure nike, chaussure tn, nike tn,nike requin, puma future cat, nike shox torch, ugg boots et plus.

8:21 PM, May 17, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

nike air max ltdFree Shipping,50%OFF,Accept Paypal.We offer cheap converse NIKE air shoes , cheap adidas shoes, adidas stan smith,cheap nike shoes, cheap puma mens shoes , enjoy shopping!ralph Lauren polo shirts , Lacoste Polo Shirts, Burberry Polo Shirts.wholesale Lacoste polo shirts and polo ralph laurenwith great price. offers lot of 10 lacoste polo shirts and lot of 20 cheap polo shirts. offers classic fit polo shirts. polo clothing All our shirts made in original factory.

8:22 PM, May 17, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you wannaghd hair straighteners for you own , we have many
cheap ghd hair straightenersin style and great,you can choose one from these
hair straightenersAuthentic chaussure pumachaussure sport And chaussure nike shoes

11:26 PM, May 30, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

11:27 PM, May 30, 2009  

Post a Comment

<< Home