The opportunity and fallacy of “build it and they will come”


Many businesses, startups, entrepreneurs and even VCs & board members assume their idea, product or service is so compelling that they simply need to build it and the throngs will arrive. They assume that a great product doesn’t need marketing.

I would agree that the best marketing possible is a great product, but there are several problems with the “build it and they will come” approach. A tree falling in the forest, without anybody around, doesn’t make the news. And if you’re on the cutting edge of technology or innovation, it’s highly likely your customers – even your early adopters – won’t immediately recognize the value you can provide.

They might need time. Or education. Or repetition before it sinks in.

Your product solves a problem, but it inherently is a solution. If your customers can’t recognize the connection between your solution and their problem, then you also have a problem.

That problem may be temporary. The more you educate, the more you drive awareness of the problem and the fact that there are now in fact solutions for it, the more you do the value translation for your prospects to raise inherent urgency to solve the problem, the better you are and the faster you can sell.

Of course, that’s not product. That’s marketing.

Great products are, themselves, the best marketing you can have. But sometimes those products, as well as the outcomes they represent, need a little push.