I can't help but notice how products developed in the US, both physical and digital, somehow look more polished and professional than many produced in the UK. I suspect that's because US marketing departments are involved far earlier in the process.
Hard as it may be to acknowledge, the Americans are way ahead of us when it comes to product marketing. Most US companies that develop products realise (realize!) that the marketing function is an essential part of the product development process rather than an afterthought.
They engage at the outset using marketing insight to sense check the products viability in the market place:
How does the design compare to the competition?
Who is likely to buy the product?
What's the likely price point?
Who are the competition?
Can the product find a space in the market?
It’s easy to identify companies that have developed products hand-in-hand with marketing, Apple being one of the most obvious. Anyone who’s read the Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson will know that Jobs made a point of involving his marketing director from the outset of new product development. No wonder then that Apple have continually punched above their weight to compete and win against some giants in the technology world.
Now much smaller companies have woken up to the importance of getting the marketing right, they’ve understood that presenting things well will ease the sales process, help them compete and win against competition, convert more interest and encourage more referral business.
In today’s global economy, encouraged by online trading, UK companies must now compete beyond the domestic market. To be successful our products must look as good as they work; marketing as an after-thought will cost us dearly. It’s time we presented ourselves properly; it’s time to engage with marketing much earlier in the product development life cycle.
A specialist b2b marketing agency can help smaller businesses with the marketing and development process. The key is to talk to them from the outset.