Expert's Panel

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    What are the fundamental marketing lessons that you have learned from failures and successes?

  1. A company I ended up consulting for went off and spent $32-million and never had a Market Requirement Statement before developing a system. Engineering development never stopped and when we finally went in as a marketing group and said, "Look how big this thing is—it will never fly in the market place," the mistakes were finally realized. Requirement definition, from the market, is a must before money is spent on the product.
  2. Don’t lose track and make sure that your company is able to do what it says it will. If you fail to perform, you will get bitten and the bite will be deep and harmful. Applied in the ‘70s got to a point where it failed to do what it said it would. It was out of control; nobody knew what promises had been made; and the company got into serious trouble.
  3. In the past several years I have started to learn more and more about trying to define to whom you are marketing. I started off thinking you had to market directly to the customer, not necessarily the end-user. One of the greatest examples of pull-through marketing is Intel. They said we’re going to go around the customers such as Dell and HP and pull the demand back through from the ultimate market. Remember “Intel Inside”. If you are selling to OEMs, sometimes you can do better getting the customer to specify your product.
  4. Do not listen to a customer. Obviously, you have to listen to all of your customers, but if you try to base a product or program on a single customer’s input, you are at great risk in the market place.
  5. Building on the “pull through” remarks, your customer may like your product but be complacent about specifying it. Then the only way you are going to sell it then is if the OEM really needs it. If it is only an option you will have great difficulty selling the OEM because you are adding that $1 of cost that the OEM must get $5 from the end-user. Be aware there usually are two selling jobs!