Thursday, January 17, 2008

"Hey, marketing: here's a sow's ear…can you PhotoShop it into a silk purse?"

I had at least three conversations today about marketers being left out of the product development stage, only to be asked to make the product a success through the magic of advertising. The problem is, it doesn't work that way. The earlier you get marketing involved, the better the marketing's going to be. It's just that simple.

Here's a thought for anyone who's in the room at a product's conception: What's the downside of getting marketing involved right from the start?

If you think they're going to get in the way, give bad advice, or waste your time, then you have the wrong people. You don't
need to wait to get them involved--you need new people, whether you're talking about in-house marketing staff, an agency, or a consultant.

But if you do have the right people, they'll know when to listen, when to ask questions, and when to offer suggestions about the best way to make your product salable. They'll help you make it better, and they'll give you objectivity that will lead to insights you'd otherwise probably miss. And they'll certainly have more buy-in when it comes time for them help you tell your product's story.

There's no such thing as getting marketing involved too early. And even if there were, it still would be much better than getting them involved too late.


1 comment:

Erik Deckers said...

I used to face the same issues when I was doing crisis communication for state government. Many times, we would get called into a meeting well after the "experts" had decided what the message to the public would be.

My job was to put that message out there. My real task was to fix what the so-called experts had created, and put it into layman-friendly terms.

We finally started getting called into those early meetings to help craft the message, in order to save us a lot of time on the back end in fixing what they had done.

The amount of discussion and agonizing over every subtle nuance made me miss the old ways.