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Product Focused vs. Customer Focused Marketing

May 10th, 2014

Someone said my work as a poster presenter is like a marketing job, and suggested me to take a course in marketing, so I took the online course on coursera called “An Introduction to Marketing”. To my surprise, I actually learnt some interesting perspectives that are applicable to my daily work.

The overview talked about product focused marketing vs. customer focused marketing:

… in product-focused market, I’m the expert, and I create the very best product I can based on my expertise. … In a customer-based market, what I’m going to do is look at what the customer wants, and try to create product to meet that customer’s need.

, which reminded me of my experience in EGU, when I was showing the R2R Elda demo to Dr. Giuseppe Manzella, he immediately would like to try the “Search Form” on the Elda page, which I would never use since I use Elda merely as a RESTful service building tool rather than a CMS, so he expanded the search form, input key words, and clicked the “Search” button. I can still remember the disappointment on his face when “HTTP ERROR 404″ showed up as the result…

Later I figured out that the problem could be fixed by removing the extra “/r2r” from the address bar (probably with some Apache URL rewriting tricks), but the point is that I was so not expecting that my customers would like to try the search form, even though it so stands out in the Elda page! I put all my attention to the Elda configuration files, the SPARQL endpoints and the Apache configuration files — that is my expertise, everything else is just some irrelevant decoration.

Now I realize I am way too focused on my products, and really need more often put myself in the customers’ shoes. If we look at academic conferences as market activities, we would find that the number of customers is very small, so it’s a wrong strategy to pursue market share, i.e., to focus on improving products and trying to sell as many of them as possible. Instead, we need to pursue customer share — to interest as many customers as possible, to give them exactly what they want, and to build long term relationships.

 

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