I love the title of this post, although it isn’t mine; it’s the work of John Battelle of Searchblog, writing on American Express OPEN Forum.

The worst business meeting I ever suffered through was with a bunch of marketing people who were forced to figure out where and how, and to whom to sell a product that had already been built.

Here it is — so, who do we sell it to? That’s just so hard, like rowing upstream.

Instead, identify the need and the market around the need, and solve it. That’s the right way.

Here is John Battelle on this:

I’ve argued elsewhere that a truly successful business is one that is an ongoing conversation. Those conversations are marketing–if you add value and connect to your customer, you’re succeeding. If you don’t, you fail.

It’s easy to know if you’re succeeding while having those conversations–we’re all pretty good at sensing when customers are happy as we directly interact with them. But we often forget a crucial ongoing conversation that usually occurs beyond our personal presence: the conversation between the customer and our products.

Case in point: I’ve worked closely with a well-known software firm that spends millions on marketing programs that do a very good job of convincing consumers to buy their products. Once those products are in the hands of customers, however, that marketing spend ends. But the conversation has just begun–the customer not only installs the software, he or she then interacts with the product again and again, often multiple times a day. And sometimes the customer sees an error message.

And while the software company doesn’t see it that way, that error message is marketing. Unfortunately, that message is written by a programmer, and it fails to do anything but irritate the customer.

OPEN Forum by American Express ยป Blog Archive Product Development IS Marketing, And Vice Versa

Tim BerryTim Berry

Tim Berry is the founder and chairman of Palo Alto Software and Bplans.com. Follow him on Twitter @Timberry.