Ego

I realize the title of this blog is supposed to be about productivity as well as marketing, but in the initial stages of this blog I can’t help but mention one more marketing topic that is close to my heart – EGO.

When you’re marketing your products and services, there is really only one person that matters – the customer.  They’re the ones making the purchase, they’re the ones that have inspired you to create the idea or manufacture the product.  In the beginning stages this is an easy lesson to remember.  It’s only too common that as time goes on  someone’s ego gets in the way and suddenly focus groups or market research aren’t so important anymore.  As times continue to change, customer predictability changes – daily!  You must never lose grip with who your customer is, what they think, etc.  You must become your customer and lose yourself, momentarily, so that you are able to look at your product from a third person perspective and critically preview if you’re meeting expectations.  In other words, you must lose your ego.
About five years ago, I was a brand manager for a national foodservice company.  We were up and coming and things were really heading in the right direction.  As part of a multi-pronged approach, we created a new website, we promoted it with a full page ad in USA Today and the product we tied it in with really took off.  An established and fast growing company saw our ad, began talking with us and we both realized our customers were the same.  After short time they pitched us to partner with them.  Again, my company was an “up and comer,” so the package they presented would cost us more than we were used to spending, but it was an obvious fit and  I saw large dollar signs in my dreams…  
I wish this story had a happy ending.  Unfortunately it does not.  I knew what our customer wanted and had the data to prove it.  Our president’s ego refused to believe the research.  His instincts said otherwise (he said it was his instincts, but I say it was his ego).  In the end we passed on the opportunity and you can figure out the rest.  With no calculator needed, had we partnered with this large company there is no doubt in my mind our company would have become a household word.  It all came to a screeching halt (literally) because of one thing – EGO.
To borrow a popular branding campaign’s slogan – when it comes to marketing, Leggo of your EGO.

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