Rod points to a quote made during a debate in NZ about how TradeMe (NZs eBay) got marketing right.
As a marketing guy I’d say that Sam’s genuis was taking an idea that was working stunningly well offshore and being first to market in NZ with a very good replica with some better features and racing stripes.
As far as eschewing conventional marketing, that was smart and reflected exactly what others did also.
As both a user and marketer I’d say what is really broken is product development and management in most Web2.0 companies and start-ups. Some get it right, most don’t even have a crew focused on the user. The full extent of their marketing effort – if they have one at all – is a couple of marcomm specialists or a PR agency. So, before blaming marketing – get a marketing function or leader.
It’s sheer nonsense to draw a correlation between insight into marketing being broken, then, marketing communications, then building a better product.
I could equally pepper the world with ludicrous notions like:
"Most software and web developers
are brainless idiotswho while great at code writing have no real understanding or care for how real people use products. Most have never met or spent time with a customer. Sam’s genuis was not putting-up with this and forcing developers to build a product that users would not just want to use but love to use. And, to infuse software/web development with some marketing nouse."
In short, what Sam really did right was make the User and customer a priority for every function in the company. Me thinks the engineers and developers protest too much!