Michael Schrage of the Harvard Business Review wrote a post earlier this week titled "Invest in your Customers more than your Brand."
His message, illustrated by the thinking of Jeff Bezos, is simple:
Give your customers information that will be useful to them. Become their trusted advisor; become their go-to source. This approach to marketing - providing a continuous stream of useful content - is what will attract customers in our information-rich age.
Pushing your product, or spouting your slogan is like pushing a rope - it's an inefficient use of your energy.
Your focus should not be on creating sales, but on creating customers. And today, customers are created through the sharing of useful knowledge.
The late Peter Drucker said, "The purpose of a business is to create a customer." He never said, "The purpose of a business is to create a brand, or to create a sale."
The Point is this: If you invest your resources in genuinely educating the market place, prospects will come to rely on you for advice. You'll develop a reputation that will evolve into your brand.
Invest in educating your market; sales and a brand will become the natural, happy by-product.