STARTUP SALES TIP: The Product Itself Is the Best Marketing Tool

A few years ago, I would always pass by Wilson street and then take a right at Jose Abad Santos street to go home. One day, I noticed a new tea place was being constructed along J. Santos.

As a huge milk tea fan, I was highly intrigued. I dropped in for a visit as soon as I saw the “OPEN” sign. I was an early adopter. It was the owner herself who was at the counter. I immediately noticed the concept was a bit different from anything being offered locally. This wasn’t Struan and Tang, nor was it another Quickly wannabe (delighted it wasn’t).

They were using fresh tea and there was a clear system: tea bag repository (a wide variety), some sort of a “tea espresso machine”, a “topping” selection (which they now aptly call “sinkers”), then a martini shaker. While they are more hi-tech now (with those circular buzzers), this basic system still holds.

And what does the system create?

A great product. Something I always came back to, tried new variants of, and told ALL my friends about.

Soon, there was always a line whenever I’d visit. Soon, they had other branches. Soon, they had copycats.

How did it grow? More than anything, pure word of mouth supporting a consistently great product.

Raise your hand if you got onto Facebook because you heard it from an advertisement. What about Dropbox? What about your I-phone or I-pad, did you buy them because you were convinced to do so by a TV commercial,  a direct email, or a radio jingle?

How about eating in restaurants like Conti’s or Banapple? Starbucks even?

How about that consultant or consulting firm which helped your firm recently?

Although marketers will tell you otherwise, in this era of social media and connectivity, a great product WILL get found, it WILL be posted on Twitter and Facebook, people WILL talk about it and recommend it to their friends and business acquaintances, and it WILL get found. Great marketing can push process to another level, but I think the insight is crystal- the very foundation of great marketing is a great product. Otherwise, the entire thing crumbles, and people will think they’ve been had. Great marketing only works if ultimately, the product is great as well. Authenticity matters.

Thinking of your great marketing and sales strategy?

Think very very carefully about your product first.

The rest will follow.

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Peter Cauton

Entrepreneur, writer, speaker, startup advocate, HR guy. Husband, father of 6, teacher, unabashed follower of Christ.

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