Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

Jeff Bezos: Put Your Energy Into Making A Great Product Not Into Marketing

Posted by Tom Foremski - July 30, 2010

(Via Sue Ellen Schaming and Richard Greenfield)

What a great quote from Jeff Bezos talking to Charlie Rose:

""Before if you were making a product, the right business strategy was to put 70% of your attention, energy, and dollars into shouting about a product, and 30% into making a great product. So you could win with a mediocre product, if you were a good enough marketer. That is getting harder to do. The balance of power is shifting toward consumers and away from companies...the individual is empowered... The right way to respond to this if you are a company is to put the vast majority of your energy, attention and dollars into building a great product or service and put a smaller amount into shouting about it, marketing it. If I build a great product or service, my customers will tell each other."

Here is the interview and transcript: http://www.charlierose.com/view/content/11138

Social media marketing then, is about enabling your customers to communicate what a great product they have.

Social media marketing is not about being a clever marketer but about how best to represent a company with a great product.

And here's my contribution: evangelists come free with every great product or service.

But is Jeff Bezos saying something new? Great products have always had their fans; Apple is a great example of how a company with a less than 5% market share managed to prosper.

Also, Amazon is the pioneer of the affiliate marketing model where you get others to do your marketing for you.

Amazon sells other people's products; it doesn't distinguish between good or bad products. The only product Amazon makes is Kindle, whose sales volume is tiny and doesn't even register on its quarterly earnings.

What Amazon does "sell" is great customer service and I can vouch for that.

Still, what Mr Bezos says is true. And it is important to remind marketers that "you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear." An expression that dates back to the mid-1500s."

UPDATE: Mitch Joel at Twist Image writes about the Jeff Bezos interview plus he hosts a great discussion:

Product Is The New Marketing | Six Pixels of Separation

A mediocre product with great Marketing is only going to create a lot of attention and conversation around the fact that the product is mediocre. Now, Marketing comes full circle to support the story of the brand and the products, and not just to oversell something mediocre.

Bezos makes it sound like this is the end of Marketing? ... or is it just the beginning?


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