…we make some products that people want to buy.”
Something is always next
Charles Kettering, inventor of the electric car-starter, founder of Delco and head of GM’s research labs, made that remark about business coming back when people saw products they wanted to buy. He mentioned it in a speech to a group of advertising executives in the middle of the Great Depression.
Later in the speech he said,
“Research is simply to find out what you are going to do when you can’t keep on doing what you are doing now.”
Consider the following:
- What is coming after social media?
- Someday there will be no more oil. Anywhere.
- Is it easier to buy a typewriter or a smartphone nowadays?
Think about product marketing
Somewhere in your building, product managers, engineers and product marketing managers are sweating over what kind of products your company is going to build when it can no longer make money with the ones you’ve been selling up to now.
When they come up with those products, it will be your job to figure out how to market them so people can see the value in them. The ground is always shifting under you, so don’t be caught off guard.
- Figure out how to be a fly on the wall. I worked for a software company that had done data compression for 10 years. It chose to reinvent itself by acquiring a remote control software company. The employees who figured out what people wanted in remote control products were the ones who thrived.
- Think about how you and the product marketing team will have to market differently — trade shows, publications, where/how you advertise. The company will probably exasperate you with its starts and stops, but don’t sit idle while the execs make up their mind. Ride the bumps with them and keep coming up with new ideas.
- Make sure your writers are up to it. What good are the best buggy whip marketing writers going to do you when people are no longer buying horses? Do your writers understand content marketing, or can they only think in terms of column-inches and 20th-century attention spans?
Eventually, the company will come up with products that people want to buy again. Maybe as soon as you all return from the holiday break.
Will you be ready to do the marketing?
photo credit: manhhai