Before you build the product, write the ad.

September 8, 2010 at 3:25 pm Leave a comment

On Sept. 1, Inc. Magazine published a list of seventeen “words of wisdom” from serial entrepreneurs whose companies are on this year’s Inc. 500. The second item on the list caught my eye. It is the headline of this blog post and was attributed to David Friend, CEO of Carbonite.

The company earned it’s spot as America’s fastest-growing IT service company by selling unlimited online backup space for personal computers. Carbonite grew 11,208 percent in three years, earning $19.1 million in revenue.

What can we learn from David Friend’s admonition to write the ad before we build the product? It’s simple. Building a product is painstaking, detailed work. It takes a lot of time, energy and investment to get things right. Once it’s ready, the sales and marketing folks have to sell it. It is the product after all.

But writing the ad first makes us focus on the customer before we’re committed to a feature set. If we can communicate a real solution to our customers’ needs in just a few words, we’ll do a better job of designing the product. If we lose sight of the customer, we’ll have a much harder sell.

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Entry filed under: CEO coach, coaching, customer focus, marketing, marketing coach, product development.

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