Great Distribution > Great Product

Great products are often insufficient

A great product is not enough. The siren song for many entrepreneurs is users will come if you build something cool. Amazing products attract users naturally without the empty calories of marketing.

This is not an unreasonable premise. Through word-of-mouth referrals and repeat usage, elite products can capture new users organically — without marketing. Their singular functionality and design provide something people are willing to seek out.

Unfortunately, elite products are rare. If the top 0.1% are elite, it means the remaining 99.9% are not, spanning the spectrum from great to ordinary to mediocre. The vast majority of products are ones people like but don’t love.

If functionality and design cannot generate demand, it needs to spring from marketing — and in particular, distribution.

Distribution is about putting a product in front of users. Think toothpaste on a Wal-Mart shelf or websites on a Google page.

People are lazy. The closest product is often the chosen product. Most products are comparable in quality and essentially interchangeable. They are “good enough.” The most coveted shelves in a store, as a result, are the ones at eye-level. The most coveted links on Google are the top ones. The most coveted retail locations are the ones near people.

If finding a product is inconvenient, people won’t care enough to try. They will find an alternative, one of your competitors, and move on with their busy lives. They could care less about your company.

Great distribution trumps great product.

Obsess over distribution.

Related post: Content is king, but distribution rules.

Related post: Overview of different distribution models

Related post: Distribution is an invisible feature of every product.