A friend was at a recent business meeting where product marketers were going over color palettes, organization of their stores, and a bunch of other details, all important. What was critically missing, however, was their marketing. When asked, they said that they were doing marketing, that all of the operational details they were discussing was marketing.

Wrong.

pizzaThey’re staring at a pizza. See, a pizza can be good. It can be tasty, with crispy crust and sweet but salty tomato sauce, hot cheese, in exactly the right proportions, made just the right way to be delicious and awesome.

That pizza will never, ever sell itself. At a minimum, the pizza has to be delivered or received somehow. That’s service. Given how much competition there is for pizza joints, even if it’s the best pizza in the world, the parlor will at least initially need to let people know about it, invite them to try it, tell them of its existence. That’s marketing.

Where my friend’s colleagues went wrong was in mistaking the product for the marketing and service. They thought that making a quality product was marketing and wondered why their stores were empty day after day after day. “But we have an awesome product!” “Maybe we need a new color palette for the inside of the store!” “Maybe we should move the register closer to the door!”

They’re rearranging toppings on the pizza instead of figuring out how to get people in front of the pizza to at least take a bite. They’re staring at the pizza, wondering why no one is buying it and eating it.

Are you mistaking product for service and marketing? Are you staring at the pizza instead of sharing it? Ask yourself these questions in the next marketing meeting you sit in, and if you’re in that situation, get people in your company to stop staring and start sharing your pizza.

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