Early-Stage Marketing vs. Late-Stage Marketing

In last week’s blog, I described how marketing could be explained in three parts: Design (What does the customer want?), Development (What product/service would meet this need?) and Delivery (How can we get this product/service in the customers’ hands?). When time is short, I’ll often abbreviate this to describe marketing in terms of Early-Stage Marketing (Design) and Late-Stage Marketing (Delivery).

I find that when most people think of marketing, they’re thinking of Late-Stage Marketing. This is the promotional work. It’s the trade-show booth, the glossy brochures, the web-site. It’s attention-getting and it’s fun. It’s also a very large waste of money if the Early-Stage Marketing has been done shabbily.

Now that last statement might not always be true of consumer-goods marketing. We can probably all think of worthless products that were masterfully foisted on consumers by Madison Avenue. But when it comes to B2B marketing—dealing with other businesses that are populated with insightful, rational decision-makers—your product really needs to meet some important, unmet needs.

So if you’re in B2B marketing, you may find it helpful to ask how much effort you’re putting into Early-Stage vs. Late-Stage. If you are all about the Late-Stage, you well may be conducting a livestock cosmetics clinic… putting lipstick on a pig. Next week, we’ll talk about how to link these two stages tightly together.DA