“A Field of Dreams” is a great movie but when it comes to your business, you better go for ‘A Field of Marketing’. While having a fantastic product or service helps – the opposite can definitely sink you – it’s always the company with the better marketing that wins. I know it’s hard to wrap our minds around the fact that an inferior product can have more success than the better one but that’s the truth.

It’s your marketing that is going to make the difference, not the actual product.

As entrepreneurs, we take a lot of pride in our product. What we make is our baby. “Look at my __shirt/breeches/grooming products/training services__. It’s just the BEST!!”  We burst with happiness when others try it and tell us they love it.

“I tried your  __shirt/breeches/grooming products/training services__ and WOW. It’s the BEST.”  

That’s it, we’ve made it. Start picturing impending riches and success. Close credits.

Bright lights. Enter, reality.

Remember Sony’s Betamax? When video cassette recorders first came out in the mid-1970s, everyone said the BETA technology was much better. It offered superior video quality to its rival, VHS. But ultimately the cheaper VHS won the marketing war and blew Betamax out of the water.

Exhibit number two: Think of the best meal you’ve ever had in your life. Was it at McDonald’s? I’ll give you a minute to think. No? But McDonald’s is the No. 1 restaurant chain with $36 billion in sales in the United States. That’s a lot of Big Macs. Does anyone think it’s the best restaurant? So why do people go? Marketing.

Why do people get in their cars and go line up at Starbucks for… a coffee? I have an expresso machine at home that cost me $300. You put coffee and water in, press the button and boom, you get amazing coffee that literally costs cents to make.  I don’t have to drive anywhere to get it, it’s right in my kitchen. Why do people inconvenience themselves for a product they can make in their own home? Is it better? Not really.

What these successful companies have is great marketing and they do a lot of it. They dedicate time, effort and money to build a strong brand. They know who their customer is. They know what they stand for. They deliver a satisfactory client experience. They have a clear grasp on what I call their ‘Brand DNA’, the values and principles that guide every marketing effort in a consistent manner.

They understand that a great product only gets you so far. If you don’t market it well, they won’t come.