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Last week was Leo Fender’s birthday (he would have been 112!). He’s known for bringing the first solid body electric guitars to the world way back in the 1950s! The guitar he is most famous for, the Fender Stratocaster, became the favourite for many rock musicians including Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, and Deep Purple’s Ritchie Blackmore. Would they have written the same music with different instruments? Who knows.

Give this song a listen with me as we see what the experts are saying this week. Every once in a while we just need to listen to a tune about space travel and groovy music, right? Not to mention some smokin’ riffs and vocals!

Fluke or Genius?

Is your product or solution’s success a fluke or a result of genius? Leo Fender is hailed by many to be a genius. However, is it possible that his successes were merely a fluke?

Sure, he was an off-the-wall inventor, but he was neither an engineer nor a guitar player. Some might say that the success of his two most iconic guitars (Telecaster and Stratocaster) was a mere flukea lot of luck on Venus.

Others were working on solid body electric guitars when Fender started. Many of his design concepts came from his employees’ feedback or suggestions from working musicians. And initial response to his guitar design was lacklustre.

But he was an obsessive thinker/worker – and he listened to what people wanted and took customer feedback very seriously. He trusted the input of people with talent (he met all the groovy people!), so he surrounded himself with them. Sure, he got a lot wrong at first, but failure is usually found on the path to success. So he made adjustments – and the fact that he had many ‘hits’ (guitars, basses, amplifiers) indicates that he had repeatable success – and that’s no fluke!

Regardless of whether you subscribe to methodologies like The Lean Startup, the importance of customer feedback and building something people want is paramount to success. And when the products we’re bringing to market are needed, it sure is easier for sales and marketing to ensure some Fender-style repeatable success.

The Art of the Mixtape

As a kid, I would pretend to be a DJ. I would listen to my trusty radio/cassette player, wait for those new songs I loved and hit record (sometimes missing the intro)… then I would create tapes of these songs and mix them together. It was so much work! The analog world was painstaking compared to today’s digital.

How about you? Do you remember the mixtape? They weren’t just a collection of songs – they were a statement. You’d make them for your own enjoyment, or to give to others. And great mixtapes had a life of their own – endlessly copied and shared among your friends!

There’s a new documentary on mixtapes coming out this week that you might appreciate, called Analog Love. Watching the trailer made me think about how things have changed in the B2B world. As vendors, we used to provide content to buyers. We’d provide sales collateral, whitepapers, etc. and the buyer relied on the vendor to provide information for their decision. But now the buyer is in control. Before even speaking to a vendor the buyer has already consumed a ton of content and seen reviews of the vendor’s product.

As B2B marketers – is it our job to create the mixtape for our buyers and provide the right mix of content for them? Or do we simply provide the ‘tracks’ and let them create their own mixtape? Perhaps it depends on your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) and your solution – but in today’s digital world, it’s so easy to consume content, let’s keep on (space) truckin’, and not rely on our own fluke to achieve success!

As always, don’t hesitate to call me to brainstorm or just say hello.

Looking forward,

Rick Endrulat, President | ricke@v-causeway.com | www.linkedin.com/in/rickendrulat