OPINION

When Does Marketing Start?

One myth about marketing is that it starts when the product is ready. But marketing starts when the idea is hatched.

In Summary
  • One myth about marketing is that it starts when the product is ready
  • Unlike the traditional methods of product development, the new product development process carries the customer along at every stage
Hanson Wang Infinix KOM Manager Kenya, Isham Merila and Infinix Kenya marketing representative John Gitau display the newly launched infinix Zero 3 phone in Nairobi
Hanson Wang Infinix KOM Manager Kenya, Isham Merila and Infinix Kenya marketing representative John Gitau display the newly launched infinix Zero 3 phone in Nairobi

One beautiful Sunday afternoon two months ago, I was at a lovely beach with a friend having drinks (as we usually do) and talking business. He is a marketing expert with a good number of successful movies under his belt; he knows his stuff. As we enjoyed the beautiful weather, white sands, great company in our cabana, he suddenly dropped a line that got me thinking. He said: “marketing starts with first making a marketable product.''

That sounded like common sense until he broke it down. He explained that his marketing efforts start from the conception of the product idea. He factors marketing at every step of the making of an idea. That way, he does things that marketers would normally not do and hence, gets to enjoy the success that many marketers do not enjoy. My friend has mastered his system so well such that he gets results like clockwork.

One myth about marketing is that it starts when the product is ready. But marketing starts when the idea is hatched. Effective marketing begins when the idea goes through the customer and product development process. This is the process by which you find the product-market fit. When the fit is achieved, you have a marketable product. Until then, it’s all guesswork.

If marketing starts with the product and customer development process, then the customer must be involved in the process. Gone are the days when you suddenly surprise customers with your ‘wonderful’ product. Now, it’s smart to get them involved in the product development process. That way, marketing begins long before the product is officially launched – your customers can start talking about your products long before it hits the market.

Now, the product development process can become the point of sales because as you develop your product, you can build your ideal customer profile in parallel. In this process, you begin to answer questions such as: who are you creating your product for? What does your ideal customer look like? And why should they care about your product? These questions are vital to effective marketing.

Unlike the traditional methods of product development, the new product development process carries the customer along at every stage. The element of surprise is removed so that the customer is familiar and comfortable with the product at launch.  

Do not wait until your product is ready to start marketing. Get customers involved as you build your product and they will become your evangelists at launch. Now, that’s great marketing. 

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