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48 Comments

Marketing is probably more important than the product itself

I think that's it. That's the lesson learned I wanted to share, you can go now and continue doing amazing products 🤗

But just in case you were expecting more, let me add some disclaimer notes:

  • Sure, if the product is horrible, everybody will hate it
  • If anybody knows about your perfect product, nobody will pay for it
  • Above sentences don't compete each other, you can do a decent product and continue improving it... but in the meantime, you really need to invest some (a lot of) time also to market it

Hope you have a nice and productive week ahead! 💪🏻

  1. 9

    Marketing is often overlooked by indie hackers who are low on budget, but it's definitely not something to forget, especially since there are a lot of free solutions.
    Have a nice and productive week yourself Ricardo :)

    1. 3

      "Will I have enough energy and enjoy doing this product marketing for a reasonable amount of time?" <- I will ask this to myself for any upcoming idea that comes to my mind in the future 😅

    2. 1

      I think about it a lot recently. Growth + Distribution is so underated

  2. 5

    I believe this! Marketing first means, potentially:

    • Validating the concept socially, not only in your head
    • Building an audience of people who want the product
    • Getting feedback early on to make the product better

    It's why I launched my book with about 30% of the content (rather than completing it first), and I spend my time 50% marketing and 50% working on the book itself.

    It took me a while to learn this lesson, and it's taking me a while to get better at marketing since it's not my first skillset (coding is). But I'm hooked on it and starting to love it as much as building software. It takes both to make something useful and valuable.

    1. 4

      Love the "Marketing first" concept, didn't heard of it before :)

      It happens exactly the same to me, I'm a coder that needs to continue growing the marketing skills.

      Good luck with the book! 🤜🏻🤛🏻

  3. 5

    Absolutely! 50% product development: 50% distribution (channels, messaging, feedback that goes back into - you guessed it - product development).

    1. 3

      And if you tell me that the percentage goes 15/75% dev/anything else, I’ll still believe you 😅

  4. 4

    Very true! I have a ton of good ideas. Many of them I've built. But my only successes thus far are those products for which I've built a strong marketing campaign. And it's not cheap!

    1. 2

      This is interesting, as I’ve not even considered yet to outsource the marketing of any of my things. Just some logos and landing pages, but “marketing” sounds a never ending monthly fee.

  5. 4

    This is the massive truth.
    And unfortunately, it's tougher everyday.
    Today, everyone is a creator.
    And pumping out content/Tweets/Instagram/etc.

    There's just so much noise, getting your voice heard is hard unless you already have an audience.

    1. 3

      Agree with this - really struggling with the time, as a solo-ish founder with a full-time job, spent on IH/Twitter/LinkedIN/etc vs simply refining my product and customer discovery.

      I've been fairly active on social media for weeks and really not seeing any ROI on that time spent yet.

      1. 1

        What problem do you solve? Why not to beat right into the target?

        Look, personalized cold emailing is essential. It's also time consuming. I'm ahead of my +50 sales guys colleagues, simply because I've automated cold outreach. Follow up is the king here. Can't imagine how I've worked previously without Ukrainian startup https://snov.io?_get=leads.

        By the way that's how we should solve problems with SaaS nowadays.

      2. 1

        Patience, they say, good things will come with perseverance 🤜🏻🤛🏻

    2. 2

      It’s super time consuming, probably the reason behind there is so much automation tools out there nowadays.

      1. 2

        Actually you can do this, but honestly, I can send maximum personalized 40-60 emails per day.
        Imagine you can reach out 16.000 people by person emailing them per month. How this would affect your results?
        That's why it's a must right now if you want to get through the noise

        1. 2

          Yeah, that would be crazy 🙃. But still (just talking from my ignorance), maybe you can do your 40-60 emails per day to start, and then change the toolset, as soon as you feel the need to scale it up.

          Anyway, no idea about email marketing, this is something I really have to get into asap.

          1. 1

            Check out this growth hack https://snov.io?_get=leads

            There are templates, plug n play.
            If you solve real problem their will be sales.
            That's how I stay on the top in my sales department.
            Hope you'll crush it

  6. 3

    A strong corollary would be the "Identifying a Market for a product has to come first", or at least discovering a market. There has to be a market before there can be a product-market fit.

    1. 2

      Especially for indies, we are not Apple and probably won't be able to create new markets.

  7. 3

    I totally agree. "Build it and they will come" doesn't work. When it does, it is just luck.
    Right now when I evaluate an idea, if I don't know how to market it, I won't consider it, even if there may be a need for it. I need to know that my product has some real users because it solves some real problems. Then it should not be as difficult to get some earlier adopters. And I should be able to determine the marketing channels and strategies the product needs to grow. If I don't have the marketing skills, either I should be able to learn it or hire some help. Without that, it is hard to grow. Then it may not be a product for me to pursuit...

    1. 3

      Around 6 years ago I've built an online poster printing shop to give it a try, reselling a local printing shop services... and no, they didn't come 🤣, lost around $100 on cardboard tubes. Had some fun anyway ¯\(ツ)

      Thank you for your comment!

  8. 3

    I totally agree @rcruz. Marketing is a fundamental part of the product, which is often underestimated, and requires time, to see results, and usually wants everything for yesterday.

    1. 2

      The longest and time consuming product feature 😅

  9. 2

    I agree with this one; having a good marketing plan is the best way to gain potential clients and customers. Creating good products is a given though, if you want to jumpstart and have a customer, you must have a working product that satisfies your customers' needs.

    1. 1

      Thank you for you comment @roguson 👏🏻

  10. 1

    Bad product. Good marketing --> wasting people's time and money. Yes you have traffic but you funnel a lot of leads to a bad product that does not deliver, so people will churn or ask for refunds.
    Good product. Bad marketing --> indifference
    Great product. Bad marketing --> word of mouth carries it forward. No need for any marketing.

    My take is that product will always be more important but marketing is also
    something never to ignore. Something like 70% 30%

    1. 1

      Uhm, sorry but I can’t agree. Word of mouth is a leap of faith, a matter of luck. I will never recommend that.

      I’m not saying that quality should be neglected, but as soon as you have a nice product, you’ll have to work even harder to sell it.

      How many clones of services are out there?. The overdose of products, services and apps is overwhelming, you can give them for free and people will still ignore you.

      There are people that will be lucky enough to experience only growing by word of mouth… but I’d prefer to secure my wallet.

      Anyway, still, best of the lucks for your projects!
      🤜🏻🤛🏻

  11. 1

    Marketing is definitely important.

    My belief is the product is as important as the marketing.

    Bad product, great marketing = sales will only last short term before you gain a bad rep and ppl stop buying.

    Great product, bad marketing = nobody knows about it

    Great product, great marketing = this should be what we're striving for

    1. 2

      Totally agree Welly, quality of the product can't be neglected, neither the marketing. As others said in the comments, marketing tends to be overlooked.

      I've learned this now, I used to focus just on the product and forget about "the other 99%".

      1. 2

        We definitely need to be constantly reminded about this, myself included. Thanks for sharing.

  12. 1

    I think the word "Marketing" has probably built up a bunch of negative associations in peoples minds, so it becomes a barrier. Clearly we need to rebrand Marketing.

    1. 1

      That's totally true, "Marketing" sounds like... somebody is going to wake me up from my nap offering a crappy promotion by telephone ☹️

  13. 1

    I see it more as food and water, you can't have one without the other, having a crappy product and good marketing my work, but is quite hard, especially in these days with so much competition, google had lots of products, with their level of exposure and mindshare, still a lot got scraped as they were bad (promotion) driven products, you can't say google plus didn't had marketing.

    1. 1

      Sure @marrkkk, product quality can’t be neglected. Have a nice week!

  14. 1

    Completely agree, I just started dedicating half my time to marketing activities. I am primarily a tech guy, I am starting from zero on marketing... but I kind of like it because it is a different world.

    1. 1

      Half time sounds a right proportion in my head, even more if needed. So my priorities are at the moment:

      • Fix any bug or performance issue that may appear
      • Marketing
      • New features
  15. 1

    Probably!

    In some cases, marketing generates bomb revenue despite the value being nil.
    (A good example would be Coca Cola)
    So, Marketing sure has the power to run brands!

    However, Marketing would be better if what is being marketed is better.
    Won't it?

    1. 1

      Sure Nikita, the better the product, the better results. Quality can’t be neglected.

      The point is (just my opinion), without marketing, there is no way to succeed, no matter how good the project is.

  16. 1

    Your product is marketing and your marketing is your product. Both are married to each other.

    If you have nailed your pitch. People who have the problem automatically try your product.

    1. 2

      Don't know if automatically, but at least more probably for sure. Thanks for the comment!! 🤜🏻🤛🏻

  17. 1

    Could not agree more, been thinking a lot about this lately. Start with the marketing not the product. There are numerous examples that I have come across recently where this is holding more and more weight.

    • Syed Balkhi built a massively successful blog wpbeginner.com, before using that to build and acquire a number of successful wp tools.
    • VitalNova, maybe not the best example. Essentially one of the first content farms. Figured out a way to make bad content go viral. Acquired for $100mil, 3 years after launch.

    Great product + no marketing = potentially 0
    Great marketing + average product = potentially millions

    1. 3

      So let's say:
      Product development investment * Marketing investment = Profit

      After reading your reply, something that will happen for sure, for the next project I have in the queue, is to actually start with the marketing page, related blog articles and a newsletter 😬

  18. 1

    Indeed! If you want your product to achieve great revenue in the future, you should allot some precious time to learn how to market it. Be always visible to your target customers, I bet you'll achieve results in a few weeks.

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