Of the 4 P’s of marketing: product, price, place, promotion, the most under utilized in terms of potential and the most forgotten is the Product. So many books are written about every form of marketing under the sun, but hardly any of them address the actual product itself. The one book I have found to be extremely useful and pretty revolutionary in its simplicity is, Baked-In by Alex Bogusky & John Winsor.
This books addresses the one P no one talks about. The actual product/service being delivered! This is what all the additional marketing efforts go towards after the product is completed. But if companies focus on the communication of the brand starting from the product out, they can bake the marketing right in. Not too long ago companies could create safe, non-innovative products and combine that with mass marketing to gain the returns they desired. Today it’s a necessity to build innovative products and brands that build the marketing into the product from the start.
The same creativity that marketers and consultants put towards changing culture, social media strategies, advertising/pr, and even packaging can be applied to the product itself. This is why including consumers from the start is so important. The co-creation that occurs with these consumers helps to establish the marketing message and gives the brand a unified voice. With the rich feedback provided from the target market the product can truly gain some steam and momentum.
The product should be the most powerful marketing tool. If communicated from the product’s core the marketing message should coincide seamlessly with the intended benefits for its consumers. The failure with many products can be attributed to the marketing. The product is created, then the marketing and promotional efforts are built around it, often times communicating a different message to the consumers.
There are many ways to bake your marketing in, it just takes time identifying what makes your brand and story unique. The product can tie company history or even personal history into the product’s story. But to have a product that truly markets itself the cultural and consumer research must be done during creation!
Focus your efforts on building a product with the marketing baked in; marketing that communicates exactly what the product is intended to do and for whom. Remember your product is what people are actually buying!