This is the first Falconry Group blog post from our summer intern, Hanne Ockert-Axelsson. Welcome Hanne!
Have you chosen to be an engineer, a research scientist, or another profession requiring advanced analytical and technical skill? If so, in college did you ever nod off a little in those business pre-requisite classes? Especially during the marketing sections.
If you’re in the workforce now, you could be forgiven for skipping the optional marketing “lunch and learns.” You’ve got products to build, problems to solve, and deadlines to meet.
To people with the advanced knowledge required to build viable products, marketing can seem like a trivial detail. It’s something those nice marketing people do at the beginning and/or end of a product development cycle. This view of marketing is understandable. Architects and general contractors design and build great houses. But, for various reasons, they usually don’t sell them.
I hope you won’t agree with this statement too quickly, but truth-be-told, I’m not a “natural” marketer. I’m really fascinated by marketing, and I’m excited to gain more experience as The Falconry Group’s summer intern. Ultimately though, I want to build great products; specifically in the category of pharmaceutical research and development. This field is, and must be, a business. And I know that marketing strategy and execution can make the difference between success or failure. (I like success better!)
It seems like truly great products and great marketing come in the same package. Having a strong product is one thing. Communicating those strengths effectively in a brochure or web video is another. To turn a target audience into customers, we have to do both.
I’ve come to see marketing as an essential component of a great product. If I’m helping build that product, buyers need to know why it’s great. So they’ll buy it. So I can get paid!
Here are three things that I, a lifelong non-marketer, have learned about marketing:
1) Marketing myself. It’s my name on the résumé and LinkedIn profile. I’m the one sitting in the interview chair. If I’ve gotten that far, I probably think I can do the job. But if I can’t explain why I can do it to a potential employer, I’m unlikely to get an offer. Selling oneself can be awkward. But it’s essential to getting a foot in the door.
2) Marketing a product. Last year, I met an undergraduate advertising major who, along with a few friends, was starting a business. Their product was coconut water. Now, in any natural foods store, there are ten different varieties of coconut water. Most have brand names and packaging that promise more health to healthy consumers. These guys differentiated their coconut water by packaging it as a hangover cure. I thought this was clever. Instead of fighting for attention in the existing market of coconut water guzzlers, they focused on creating a new market of buyers. And those buyers will likely to buy an extra unit (or two) of the product, if it’ll make that $#@%&@* headache stop!
3) Marketing a brand. So we were successful with our last product, but now what? In the echo chamber of brands vying for buyers’ attention, our great product today will be tomorrow’s old news. Nobody wants to buy the original iPod anymore. But Apple isn’t really selling iPods, or even iPhones or iPads. They’re selling a lifestyle. That brand promise keeps Apple customers loyal while the Apple product folks cook up the next great idea.
Ok, now it’s your turn:
- Do you agree that great products and great marketing ALWAYS go hand-in-hand?
- Do you have any examples of great marketing overcoming a weak product? Or vice versa?
Your comments below please!