Archive for July, 2010

I’ve Been Giving You Bad Advice

July 12, 2010

After a conversation with a friend who’s recently made a great career move, I realized I’ve been giving bad advice for some time now. Not terrible advice,  just not as good as it could be. Based on a couple of career learnings (read “missteps”), I’ve always counseled people to “only get involved in a business where you can be passionate about the product.”

Seems reasonable enough, and seems to fit with my career learnings. But there’s something deeper that I figured out over coffee with my friend.

Whatever industry you’re in, products come and go. It’s hard to remain passionate about every version of every product you’re ever involved in marketing. And yet, the best marketers seem to do it. What’s their trick?

Turns out they give almost the same advice I do. Only, instead of “be passionate about the product”, they say “be passionate about the customer.” Big difference. Most businesses serve only a few types of customers. Think of a toy manufacturer – thousands of products, hard to care deeply about each one. But if you’re passionate about making children happy, taking each one of those products to market will be a delight.

Apologies if the advice I gave formerly damaged your career and landed you on skid row. But it still wasn’t bad advice. It’s just that my friend’s advice is better.

Photo by Bob Formal

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