For product people, the role of marketing is education. If only more people knew how great our product is. For salespeople, it's support. All sales are good, no matter where they come from. For advertising folks, it's communication. Tell a great story and figure out how to make it real later.
Great founders and marketers understand that true product differentiation is rare, sales without profits is useless, and a great story can only go so far without a great product.
Marketing is the glue that binds product development, distribution, communication and pricing, aligning it with customer needs. It closes the loop on creating, distributing and capturing value between customers and the company. As Seth Godin eloquently puts it:
"Don't find customers for your products, find products for your customers."
The first step for marketing success is accepting customer-centricity.
This subtle but powerful shift in thinking opens up a whole new world of opportunities. The role of marketing evolves from a necessary evil, a task to be checked, a "hack" to be discovered, into a dialogue with the market, a process of discovery, development and distribution.
Understanding that you are not the customer forces you to ask who the customer is, how best to solve their problems and how to communicate with them.
Don't let the fear of finding out what your customers truly want or the arrogance of thinking they can't live without you hold you back. The humility that comes from letting go of your assumptions and accepting that you don't know what the customers want will set you up for success.
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