At the very inception of a product or service.
For a few months now, I have been thinking about going for a startup (I know it’s not the best time and I got to be a real stupid to leave my “great” job in this economy and put money in a startup and …, but then there’s never a good time). As expected, I have been talking to people to work with me. In this process, I pitched my ideas to someone with a better marketing brain than most people I know well. After pampering that person for a while to leave day job and join me, here’s what I got back: you start working, get the product ready and when it’s time for marketing to come in, I will see if I can join you. This made me think: when will marketing of my product start?
I believe marketing of any product starts right when you start thinking about it. Marketing, as Seth Godin puts it in his book Purple Cow, is the art of inventing a product. You cannot design a product successfully without being a marketer, let alone branding or releasing a beta or selling it. Marketing is way more than merely advertising and selling a product. It is an integral part of everything you end up doing to make your product remarkable.
This brings another important question. How can you make a product remarkable? By making it customer-centric. By designing the product in a way that it is embraced by the early adopters and is juicy enough to create a community of mavens. By providing great service and making the atmosphere around the product dynamic to receive feedback and fix the pain points. By helping mavens create story behind it and share it with their friends and beyond. By making the product easy to adopt and hard to reject. I believe when you go for a customer-centric design, provide great service, fix the pain points, advertise or help others advertise for you, you are doing nothing but marketing the product.
I believe success of any product largely depends on marketing it in the right way…may be that’s the reason all the companies I adore are run by great marketers.