Have you ever heard of Microsoft Zune? No? That’s because it failed to gain traction in the market against its more accomplished competitor, the Apple iPod.
Is Microsoft Zune a bad product?
Well, not where technologies are concerned. Microsoft poured serious money into building the portable music player. However, it hesitates to invest in advertising while rival Apple solidifies its position with an aggressive ads budget. Ultimately, lack of marketing is one of the main factors that contribute to the demise of Microsoft Zune.
Microsoft Zune is only one of the many sad stories that befell product developers. In this article, you’ll learn why marketing is crucial and how to start marketing while you’re building the product.
Why Developing the Best Product Is Never Enough?
It’s fun to put together the electronics part, collaborate with Shenzhen suppliers, and go through the process of building a product. Product designers crave a sense of satisfaction when their ideas are brought to life by strokes of wizardry.
Yet, it all matters for nothing if the product failed to hit the market. The lack of interest, zero orders, and ongoing expenses will send a business spiraling into financial turmoil.
Many brilliant designers believe that their ideas will be the next big thing and starts a business on that assumption. But designing the best product is never enough to ensure success.
90% of startups eventually failed, and product quality isn’t the main reason for those failures. Lack of marketing, which results in a poor understanding of target audience, competitors, and the market trend, is one of the main reasons why startups failed.
Marketing, which comprises skills that a product designer often lacks, is the element that will drastically increase the chances of product success.
Creating a product with sophisticated features isn’t enough. You’ll need to ensure that the product is solving real problems faced by real people. You’ll need to know who is your target audience and which competitors you’re going against in the marketplace.
How Marketing Skills Are Crucial to Product Success?
Building a great product is part of the success equation. The other part lies in how well you can connect with the users, particularly if it’s a new startup.
This calls for marketing skills, where the marketer becomes a storyteller, helper, teacher, and able to engage the audience on various channels. Marketing is about building trust amongst potential customers and strengthening brand awareness.
Marketers require different skills than product designers. Marketers need to be good communicators and adept in using tools to engage their audience. They need to understand consumer sentiments, analyze market trends, and size up competitors.
These skills are pivotal to product success. The harsh reality is, it’s hard to be a brilliant product designer and a good marketer at the same time.
A product designer needs to work closely with a marketer and vice versa if there’s any hope for successfully penetrating the market. Apple’s Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak are the best examples of a marketer and designer working in synergy.
Where electronics products are concerned, a good designer knows how to leverage Shenzhen suppliers to build cost-efficient products. Meanwhile, the marketer is aware of how the world’s largest electronic marketplace is also teeming with potential buyers.
The key lies in knowing how and where to market the product.
Kickstart Marketing While You’re Building the Product
It’s evident that marketing is an inseparable part of the equation for product success. The question is, when is the best time to start marketing? Product designers often assume that marketing comes in after building the prototype or having completed the final design. This is, of course, a misguided assumption.
Starting marketing late into the product development cycle increases the risk of failures. For example, the product designer will be building the product based on his/her assumption and not validated user feedback.
Even if the product designer is on track with the design, it takes time to generate sufficient interest in the product and pitch it to clients. Delaying marketing effort increases the gap between product completion and getting the first order. It also means the startup continues to pay expenses while not getting any sales.
The best timing to start marketing is while you’re building the product. You don’t need a ready product nor a prototype to start generating interest in it.
Early-stage marketing is about building your business presence and connecting to potential users. It also involves conducting user surveys to identify the pain points faced by them in the real world.
Generating interest early on in the design stage ensures that you have a ready pool of buyers way before the product is complete. It reduces the risks of having no takers when you finally have a product to sell.
How to Market Your Product Efficiently?
Short of hiring an experienced marketer, you’ll need to pick up some marketing skills. Thankfully, marketing a product isn’t terribly hard. The best way to start is by creating a website that showcases your product concept and its appeal to users. It also helps to create blogs on similar topics with the product that you’re building.
What’s important here is building trust and developing authority with the audience, which brings us to the next point — driving traffic. You can drive traffic to the website with a few methods; SEO, paid ads, and social media. Each comes with its pros and cons, but what’s important here is to collect the visitors’ email.
Build a landing page to collect the email addresses of visitors who are interested in the product. You’ll then have an email list of prospective customers when your product is ready. It’s also important to publish updates on how the development progresses and seek feedback from the users. The feedback helps you to stay in the right direction by creating a matching product.
Both marketing and product design are opposite sides of the coin for product success. You’ll need to strike a balance between both or risk suffering the fate of Microsoft Zune. Marketing is made easier with the plethora of tools available today.
Remember that it’s never too early to start marketing your product. Often, partnering with a sourcing company like us can give you insight into the Shenzhen marketplace and prime your product for success.