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Do You Have A Case Of Business Thinking On The Brain?

How different aspects of business thinking are arranged in your brain.
The Business Cortex as left-and-right brain - product and marketing

Like juggling. One of the hardest things to figure out about business is how not only to throw and catch one ball (or hackey-sack), but how to do two at a time without dropping them.

In business, you coordinate your product and production with your marketing. At the highest level you design a product that your market wants. At the lowest level, you make sure you deliver the product people expect from what it says on the tin/packaging/flyer.

While you're throwing each ball in the air in rotation, there are distinct steps and stages you need to coordinate to make your customers happy and your business run smooth.

Would it help you to have a defined system to help you keep track off all of what you have to do both in your business and in your specific schedule?

right-brain marketing with 9 steps

While nothing in business is truly left-or-right brained, we can think of marketing as right-brainy and product as left-brainish.

Let's jump into the right-brain thinking of marketing...

The three groupings in the pic are for

(1-3) Marketing Strategy - what problems are we solving
(4-6) Marketing Tactics - who are we letting know about what we solve
(7-9) Marketing Operations - how are we getting our message to them

The key here isn't to be great at one of each or one group, the key is to align all of the parts.

A car with bad parts runs better than a car missing parts no?


This concerns making sure that you're solving problems that people are struggling with at a price point they're willing to pay, and doing some aspect of it slightly better than your competition.

This is how the people with this problem see your solution helps them.


In MARKETING TACTICS, you group prospects together and figure out a way to lead the members of that group through their first contact to their repeat sale, and all the messaging between.

This is your web of of ads, social media accounts, content, and links that lead to sales.


The thing about MARKETING OPERATIONS are the things people who might buy what you're selling actually see that gets them to know about and want what you're selling.

Here you're concerned with layouts, fonts, and the persuasiveness of what they're reading daily.

It's super hard to tease out these levels when you're new to marketing. In big business it's hard to see this is what different levels and roles concern themselves with. And in small business usually it's one person figuring this all out (or not).

Tune in tomorrow and we'll talk about what happens on the other side of your business brain, Production, that matches your marketing efforts with solving the problems you promise you'll solve.

left-brain thinking of product

Now that we've covered the right-brain thinking of marketing, we'll finish out talking about the left-brain thinking of product. I call product management and production left-brain thinking because it is more straight-forward than marketing. With marketing you're trying to persuade people which is a world of probabilities. With product management, you're moving bits and molecules, way more predictable. Remember, this is metaphoric, not science.

The three groupings in this image happen in parallel to the groupings of marketing. We have 

(1-3) Product Strategy - how we solve our customers problems
(4-6) Product Tactics - the systems we use to make our solutions
(7-9) Product Operations - how we make and deliver the products

In the software world, product strategy happens around business analysis and product management. Product tactics may be called product ownership and development. And operations kind of speaks for itself. In manufacturing and software, we may also call product operation 'production' run by production managers and foremen.


So what is PRODUCT STRATEGY? It's the art of figuring out how to solve customer problems with elegance. Elegance combines effectiveness (doing the thing) and efficiency (with minimal effort). This is why convenience stores sell small and single-serve items instead of gallons of milk and super-sized cans of tomatoes. What's important here is not just any one product, but the mix of products that you offer that solve a mix of problems that customers have.


When you have that all figured out (easy right) you get to PRODUCT TACTICS. Our convenience store groups items commonly bought together next to one another. A software company may offer tight integration with their other software and APIs to work with software from other vendors. Behind the scenes the convenience store has supply chain managers buying from manufacturers, distributors, and warehouses to keep their shelves full.


PRODUCTION OPERATIONS then, covers the day-to-day operations, genius right? We may also call this 'production' both in the live server for software companies as well as what happens in manufacturing plants running machinery to make goods. In our convenience store this is the nightly re-shelving of bought goods and making sure inventory counts match what's on the shelves. For software we have server analytics, google analytics, hotjar, and any number of things to track what users are doing on our site to help improve its uptime and ease of use including fonts, spacing, colors, and imagery (which isn't just for marketing).

As you can see these are all nicely segmented. While we think of them as 'hierarchical' I think of them as 'sequential'. A store doesn't know what volume and products to order until it identifies the customer it wants to serve (weekly food shopping - grocer, or pop in for a Gatorade and a sammich - convenience store). Once they know their market, they buy the goods and try to keep them in stock and on shelves.

This is a broad set of topics to think about. Each of these topics, from Marketing Strategy to Product Operations has tens of roles within them with hundreds of activities. This broad array of things overwhelms entrepreneurs when you have to build all of this from scratch.

To put this to use, take some time to think of a few businesses in different industries and imagine how what they do falls into these categories. I'll give you some examples: mining companies, shoe lace manufacturers, computer repair shops, and hair dressers. And if you're feeling frisky, think how this also goes for the companies that supply them (mining equipment and surveying) and the companies or people that are their customers (ice skate manufacturers and ice hockey kids).

If you like this, drop me a line on twitter or linkedin


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When you break down 'Products' and 'Services' into smaller groups, you'll find more ways and examples for how to market what you offer.
You have to wrap your head around the outline, dimensions, estimates, blueprint and model of what you're making. Nailing these down will help you communicate and plan better at every other phase and stage of the process.