Many first-time entrepreneurs argue with the statement that it is not the best product that wins in the marketplace. However, those who have been on the train long enough already know the drill. It is the first time founders that spend forever producing, remodeling and relaunching the same product. They think they need to get the product perfect before they can break into the market. They want to tweak and fix every bug before the product ever gets launched.
They believe that in the competitive marketplace, it is the best product that wins the race. They think that if they build the best product, the market will come to them. “Customers know quality,” they say. If I bring the best, they will choose my product among others. Sorry to shock you out of your dream, the customer does not know quality. If they did, a lot of the businesses that have shutdown over the years would still be in operation.
Research tells us that 21.5 percent of startups fail in the first year, 30 percent in the second year, 50 percent in the fifth year, and 70 percent in their 10th year. Keep in mind that some of these startups have awesome solutions that solved a market need. Some had all the funding. In recent news, you can see a number of startups go on to fail, just after raising funds. The founders invested their time, energy, and life savings, expecting their perfect product to become a hit in the market. They expected that just like Google and other search engines, people would look for them to solve their needs every day.
Sorry to burst that bubble. It is not the best product that wins. It is the best-known product that wins.
This might not sound real to you, but take a deep breath, read the line again and think it through. Contrary to what you think about the customer picking the best product available, the customer can only choose the best product he or she knows. Think of it this way. Your customers are like people in a dark room looking for a solution to their problem.
What product do you think will first come to their attention? It is the product that enters the spotlight first. They would go for that product over and over again, and it doesn’t matter if you have a better product. They have no idea what other solutions are there in the darkroom, so they would not even know if the product they have settled for is the worst of the pack. This is part of the reason recent research says that consumers are always willing to switch brands for a better experience.
If you have a good product, one that you have invested so much time, energy, and resources building, stop dilly-dallying. Get into the spotlight. The customers have to see you first so that they can compare you with other products that they know, and decide on the best. You should be ready to invest as much time and resources in spreading the word about your product. You have to become visible and stay that way.
Formerly, one would think of being in the spotlight as simply advertising. But now, there are other ways to get your brand and product into the spotlight. And in fact, there can’t be such a thing as too much spotlight. Keep putting your product and solution out there until the brand no longer needs an introduction. You want customers to see your logo and say this is ‘ABC’ brand, even if the name is not written anywhere on it.
Ask yourself this question. If you took a random poll or market survey to find out how much your product has been exposed, what percentage of the market would admit to knowing your product?
Have you noticed that even Google runs ads? One would think that the brand is popular enough as it is, but no. They continue to launch new upgrades, and features and they follow it up with ads. Think of the most popular brands in your location (whether online or offline) and find out if they are still investing in staying in the spotlight. You will find that they are. Some are sponsoring reality TV shows, dance competitions, essay competitions, and the like. Some are partnering with one NGO or the other, driving a social cause. Some are hosting free educational webinars every now and then. The whole idea is to remain where your customers and clients can notice you. Remain in their faces.
Don’t be ashamed to market aggressively. Some entrepreneurs erroneously think that once they have a sales and marketing team, they can go to rest and let them do it all. That is not the right lens with which to look at it. Keep talking about your product – in your social media write-ups, in your everyday conversations – share the benefits, features etc. Don’t stop until you achieve brand recognition.