__“No Customer Success = No Your Success”
One of the greatest business leadership gurus of all time is a man called Peter Drucker who said the following: “Marketing and innovation make money. Everything else is a cost”. It is quite easily one of the most profound things said on #Entrepreneurship—ever!
This is the type of statement I would write up on a poster, and put on every entrepreneur’s wall for you to read every day until you @Get it! And if you say you @Get it now, you have not yet @Got It!
Now I have spoken a lot about #Innovation on this platform, but I have never spoken about #Marketing. Only a true entrepreneur can truly appreciate that you have to learn to market the #Product! And it is actually not easy!
There are a lot of people who can invent a product, or even come up with a truly groundbreaking new innovation, but you only become a true entrepreneur when you can #Market effectively. It is something that even now I’m still learning to do.
Advertising is not #Marketing, it is just part of #Marketing! Many of you are in the #SeniorClass now, and I want you to begin to reflect deeply about marketing, and the process of developing a brand.
Think about this a minute: How rational is it that you can buy a plain white shirt or a blouse from a store (an unbranded store) at one price… and right next door, it is being sold by Gucci for 100x more?!
Does the person who enters Gucci not know that it is almost exactly the same item that is cheaper next door? They do, and they don’t care! So Gucci makes the real money! (I know there may be some notable differences to discerning customers, but you get my point… the Gucci’s began their luxury brand in 1921!)
As an entrepreneur, I only began to make money after wrestling with this issue, and coming to understand it (in part) through intense study. Now, it is your turn!
I look at the great entrepreneurs of all time, and what they all have in common is a unique gift to #Marketing their product with a burning passion. The style might differ, but the ability is the same: Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Jack Ma, Sam Walton, Akio Morita … all of them had a burning passion for marketing, and innovation!
Even before you go out to sell something, you must learn to #Market effectively, and in an innovative way.
There is more to being able to #Sell than standing on a street corner and shout to (people you hope will become!) your customers, but your ability should reflect the passion of the man who is willing to spend all day on that street corner. Personally I have a lot of empathy with small informal traders who sell at street corners and markets.
As a young entrepreneur, one of my favorite pastimes was reading the autobiographies of great entrepreneurs, and without doubt, I loved the chapters where they talk about selling their products and building up customers. In the beginning, they almost all did it by themselves, and even when the business grew bigger, they kept a hold of this part of their business the longest. Sales is where you are in closest proximity to the most important person in the business: the customer!
Marketing is not just something you learn from experience. Today it is a highly complex discipline about which many tens of thousands of books have been written. Also, it is a subject of college and university study. If you go into my study and look at my business books, guess which subject has the most books? #Marketing!
Even if you studied Marketing at university level, it is a subject that is constantly and rapidly evolving, such that you must keep in touch with its developments and techniques, constantly.
__The simple fact is this: as great as your product may be, if you lose touch with marketing and sales techniques as they evolve, you may not be able to survive in business.
In this short series, I will talk to you about #Marketing. I want to engage you in how you deal with this important aspect of the #Process. It is about the “Master of Scale”, as Reid Hoffman (founder of LinkedIn) likes to say.
So let’s get started by talking about your own business.
Do you have a Marketing strategy? Is it as innovative as your product or service? How do you listen to your customer?
Tell me about it.
What do you want to learn?
To be continued. . .
Strive Masiyiwa is the founder and Executive Chairman of the Econet Group. He serves on several international boards including Unilever, and the Global Advisory boards of the Council on Foreign Relations and Stanford University. A board member of the Rockefeller Foundation for 15 years, he also serves as Chairman of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). He is a co-founder of the Carbon War Room, Pathways for Prosperity, and the Global Business Coalition on Education. He and his wife, Tsitsi, co-founded the Higherlife Foundation and are signators of the Giving Pledge.View all posts by Strive Masiyiwa