Monday, May 17, 2004

Dave Stroble on Marketing

by Asim Jalis

Here is an insightful take on marketing. Chris Sells writes: A *long* time friend of mine, Dave Stroble, said that I was too "customer-focused" to be in marketing, anyway, and I should be glad I'm not in that field. When I asked how that could be (isn't customer focus the core of marketing?), he went on to say the following: "Marketing is not about giving the customer what he wants, or even finding out what the customer wants and trying to get engineering to create it. It's about trying to sell the customer what you already have -- whether that's product, talent, or pre-conceived notions. If the needs of a customer occasionally overlap with an actual product, that's merely random coincidence. "Marketing people are customer-focused in the sense of always thinking about why customers aren't buying enough stuff, and how to get them to buy more. You're customer-focused in the sense of caring about what customers need, and helping them accomplish it, even if that doesn't result in selling anything. "But don't take it so hard. It's not as if I said you were too honest to be a banker, or too smart to be a teacher. (God, what if girls thought you were too handsome to be sexy?)" This has some connections to effectual thinking. The approach of Dave Stroble is to focus on what you have, where you are right now and sell that, to focus on achievable goals. Perhaps the same insight can be applied in other areas as well. The way to do well in a job is not necessarily to find out what the business wants, but to sell it what you already have.