Baked In: Creating Products and Businesses That Market Themselves Paperback – Dec 1 2010
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"With Baked In, Alex Bogusky and John Winsor recast the way people will think about the integration of marketing and product design. This is a provocative and compelling message, and vision for the future."- Matt Jacobson, Head of Market Development, Facebook
About the Author
Alex Bogusky is the chief creative insurgent at MDC Partners, the parent company of Crispin Porter + Bogusky advertising agency. He lives in Miami. John Winsor founded Victors & Spoils, the first ad agency built on crowdsourcing principles. He lives in Boulder, Colorado.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Bogusky and Winsor are undoubtedly extraordinary professionals - at the top of their game for years. But this book starts from a strange premise - that CEOs of businesses (because that seems to be who they're aiming at - not marketing professionals, but everyone else in businesses) are actually TOO preoccupied with marketing (dazzled by their Boguskys, perhaps), and that really they should focus more on their product. It is a shame to have to use all your marketing energies to counteract negative perceptions of a product... but c'est la vie, when did ad people get too big for that kind of a brief?
I've never met a business person who isn't focused on their product. The idea that they should really put more emphasis there seems patronising in the extreme - if they invest in NPD it's probably for a bigger reason than just to "bake in" marketing (i.e. make their ad agency's job easier).
Their examples are worthwhile, their rules are sensible, but all amount to little more than platitudes unless you're someone about to launch a new business - then it is a very valid question, "is this a product with its marketing baked it?" - but it seems like those circumstances are few and far between.
Gone are the days of big business telling the consumer what the brand stands for and why they should buy the product. There is no place to hide...the customer interacts with your product and becomes brand representatives. If you have exceptional products, you will have exceptional representation by the consumer. If you products are average or less than average...you had better look out!
Because I believe the authors are on to something. And it's not advertising. I want to say it's way past advertising, but it's actually pre advertsing.
What?? Sound confusing? Let's jump into the meat of the book.
Though I passionately disagree with both authors on the value and practice of crowdsourcing, here are a few of their points from @bakedin that stuck with me:
+ Let's cut the crap of lying and false promises about products, and instead design a useful & beautiful product / experience that meets the users exact needs & wants.
+ Stop spending 3,4, or 8 years in r & d, and instead prototype and test early, and revise what works and throw away the rest.
+ Listen to and know your audience, and make a product that fits, instead making a mediocre product and then trying to advertise the crap out of it.
+ Inrementally changing a mediocre product each year to be (slightly) new & improved is a flawed business plan. Let's innovate! Let's create something new! Let's create something beautiful! Let's create something useful!!
So if you have any interest in providing a useful / beautiful / wow product or service, do your future self a favor and pick this book up!
Also, a big thanks to @jtwinsor for sending me a copy of the book to review!
(The phrase "baked in" comes from 3D printing, a process that "bakes" prototypes in a oven-type contraption.)
Do this right and your products/services will market themselves, like Threadless t-shirts, OXO kitchen utensils, the iPod, etc.
1. The product is always the most-powerful marketing and sales tool. Stop designing in a vacuum and start designing as if the product had to sell itself without marketing. This forces you to innovate.
2. A shortcut to innovation is to steal great ideas -- from different industries, not your competitors. Nike "stole" the inspiration for its 20th anniversary edition of Air Jordan shoes from the design on Wynton Marsalis' trumpet, for example.
3. The name of your product can make or break it. Example: the VW Golf had slumped in sales by 90% over 15 years, from 250,000 units a year to 30,000. Back in its peak year, there was one thing different: the name. It used to be called the Rabbit. (Remember?) When VW changed the name back to Rabbit, sales nearly doubled in one year -- to 50,000.
This is a slender book you can read on an average plane ride. Be sure to re-read it when you land, then turn your ideas into actions. Recommended.