Hope is not a marketing plan


“Build it and they will come”

We’ve all heard that before. Many product-focused people in industries as far apart as CPG, apparel, and software will tell you that all you need to do is put out a better product, a better service, a better story — and customers will come and find you. Through intuition, through magic, or just through the grapevines, people will sell themselves. Somehow.

“Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door” –misquote of Emerson

This whole backwards way of thinking can be best paraphrased as: If I just sit here quietly, tooling away at my desk, and just hope really hard, I’ll succeed.

HOPE is not a marketing plan. At best it is misplaced sentiment, and at worst, its a spin of the die. Its a gamble that luck will carry you, or a complacent excuse to fall back on when the inevitable failure appears.

The best executed businesses do not run on hope. They run on discipline, structure, and raw hustle. Even the companies known for being the best, and with a reputation for being the best for decades don’t sit on their laurels. Fedex has thousands of salespeople, even though they are practically a verb. Apple, in Jobs’ time, and even today, meticulously plans and coordinates press, retail, wholesale and partner activity. Even apparent exceptions like Google and Facebook are lobbying like crazy behind the scenes for advertiser dollars. They will work super hard to close deals and then super hard to paint the veneer of effortless success.

Are you or your team out there pulling harder than your competitors? Or are you just hoping to win?