Great marketing or a great product?

I know this post is kind of out of the norm, but what the hell, I figured I would let it fly. Today I was thinking a lot about business and what makes a company successful. I was thinking specifically about marketing and I came up with an interesting scenario:

Say you had money to invest and you had to pick one of these companies to invest in. Both companies are in new industries that have pretty good potential for growth. Which one would you pick?

  1. A company that clearly has the best product, but has an average or below average marketing strategy.
  2. A company with an average or below average product, but has an outstanding marketing strategy.

The above facts are set in stone. You can’t say you would change their marketing strategy or improve their product. You had to pick one of the companies given the current facts above, with no assumptions as to what can or might happen in the future.

I am also aware that if you were actually investing into a company you would require much more information, and there are a number of factors that would sway your decision. But setting that all aside, and you had to pick one right now given the above information, which one would you pick?

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9 Responses to “Great marketing or a great product?”

  1. jDeppen says:

    #2 – If you can’t be good, you have to be “there”.

    Have you ever bought from a bad sales person? Most likely because he/she was “there”.

    Credit – David Knox

  2. Vojto says:

    Neither if those facts are set in stone.

  3. Gravis says:

    Definitely the second one. This is why early microsoft shareholders are so rich today ;)

  4. Adam Lindsay says:

    Selling product is all about awareness. You could have the best of something but if no one knows about it, you are not going to sell much. It would always be nice to have the best product, but given how quickly technology changes these days, odds are the product will need to go through numerous iterations in the future, giving you the opportunity to improve on it. Marketing however is much harder to achieve. Gravis had probably the best example with MSFT. Their products while clearly inferior at this point to many of their competitors, has not dramatically hurt them, since they are so incredibly powerful at getting word out that they exist.

  5. Paul Barry says:

    Depends on the product. If it’s in an industry where viral growth is likely to help spread the word about the product, a marketing strategy isn’t as important. But if no one finds out about your product, it doesn’t matter how good it is.

  6. If the marketing weakness in the first company would persist for a very long period of time, I would rather choose the second company.

    I believe most people would prefer to buy an average product if the price compensates for the lower quality. So an effective marketing strategy would expose the product to a large amount of people. This would definitely increase sales, and as long as the price stays reasonable the company would prove to be a good investment.

    If you have a great product, but nobody knows about it: how could you ever sell it? Even if your few clients are satisfied, it would take a very long time until you start to see some profit from your investment. This could be good as a long-term investement, but if there’s no hopes of reaching the masses with some good marketing (which there isn’t), then product won’t stay afloat for long as other competitors enter the game with similar quality but better marketing.

  7. Oleg says:

    #2 obviously. #1 has only a chance if #2 has an exceptionally bad product and people start actively searching for alternatives.

  8. Robert Canales says:

    Business acumen and integrity don’t often mix. To feel good about my efforts, I’d have to absolutely be in love with a company/product first, and use that as a motivator for investment/evangelism.

    Odd as it may be, I’d go with the “best product” of the two.

  9. Greg Silcox says:

    There’s two sides to marketing. Excellent product marketing will ensure you have a deep understanding of your customer’s needs and problems. With this awareness the product will become the best.