Stop thinking that internet marketing should come after building the product.

Cynical, but there’s no better way to put it. Building a product is only the first step of a very long journey, a journey that doesn’t always reward the best. In theory, we like to believe that if you matched up two products with identical functionality, the better of the two would win. Key words, “in theory.” I was reminded of this concept earlier today after a tweet from Dave McClure on the emphasis of product over marketing. twitter-twee…

I just’d like to pick up on that. Actually, this shouldn’t be “the first step”.

I totally aggree with the rest of the post and with Dave McLure when he says that

But not on this specific sentence : "Building a product is only the first step of a very long journey".

Actually, all the methodologies Dave McLure is selling to the world go angainst this way of thinking. Lean Startup, and more generally Lean Product/Business Development asks you to be rigorous on this : you need to build your customer acquisition channels AND your products at the same time, at least during the discovery phase.

The reasons are obvious. When building a product from the ground, you absolutely can’t know for sure your customers and your acquisition channels. You need to build those channels and discover them along your product. Each part feeds the other until market fit, and beyond.

And why shouldn’t I let the conclusion to Marty Cagan, who explains this way better than me!

Design In Customer Acquisition.  Especially for those of you doing consumer Internet products, you simply must worry about customer acquisition from the start.  It used to be that we said that the product team did the product, and marketing was responsible for customer acquisition.  Not anymore.  Customer acquisition is too critical, too expensive, and too integrated into the product (or needs to be) to be left completely to others.

So yes, you can’t be awesome without internet marketing, because it’s part of the discovery, but you can’t be awesome neither by thinking that internet marketing should come after the “first step” that is building the product.

Customer AND Product Discovery