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Mercedes Oliveira

graphic designer

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“Advertising is a tax for having an unremarkable product.”
August 2, 2010

I heard this quote the other day.  It’s from Robert Stephens, the founder of Geek Squad – but, the sentiment is something that we can all benefit from.

In business, we all have a product to sell.  How we get our customers to understand that product is the challenge that we all face.

Often, we focus on the traditional marketing route of explaining the benefits of our product (whilst avoiding talking about the features). 

We look to explain how our customers’ lives will be better if they bought our product. 

We look to try and understand that a customer only buys an electric drill because they want a hole – we all know what particular ‘drill’ we sell – but what’s the ‘hole’ that compels our customers to buy our product?

We spend time, effort and money understanding this, then devising advertising or marketing campaigns to distribute that message.

However, the sentiment behind Robert Stephens’ quote was that instead of spending time, effort and money advertising your product, divert those efforts towards improving your product.

When your product or services really stands out from the competition, then people will notice.  And when they notice, they will talk about it.  And when they talk about it, your sales will pick up a momentum of their own.

The best way to sell something is to have your customers do it for you.

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One response to ““Advertising is a tax for having an unremarkable product.””

  1. Well Steve you might expect me to disagree with this one as I work in advertising. But you can have the best product in the world, but people need to know it is there. Some products do appear to sell themselves – they don’t need advertising because word of mouth and media coverage is so strong. But that isn’t really true. People often quote Apple as an example of this, but they spend fortunes on advertising (directly and through giveaways to journalists so they get plugs). No matter how good your product or service is, you’re going to need to tell people it is there. To get word of mouth sales you need a customer base to start with – and that will take some kind of advertising. If word of mouth sales are good, advertising will increase them even more.
    Oh, and when I’ve been in the States I have seen a lot of advertising for the Geek Squad!

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