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Which comes first, the product or the packaging?

The answer seems obvious: You design the product and then you package it.

But wait a minute. How do you know that people will want the product you’re going to sell? Shouldn’t you first find out what appeals to people? And then shouldn’t you decide how to design a product that will embody that appeal? And shouldn’t you then decide the best way to market it?

That’s precisely the procedure that today’s automobile manufacturers follow. They’ll tell the designers, “We want you to design a sedan with an elegant but sporty look, European-type suspension, front-wheel drive and plush leather interior. And, this is the price range…..”

Successful service providers follow the same procedure. They first decide how to promote their expertise. Then they create the specific elements they will offer, using the client’s perspective as a starting point.

Caution: Make sure you can deliver all the things you promise.

What you call your product or how you describe the services you offer can have an important effect on marketability. If you’re selling fragrances for women, you’ll get nowhere with a brand called “Man Catcher,” no matter how sweet it smells. Bottle the same perfume and sell it as “Histoire d’Amour” and you’re on your way. It’s a part of packaging.

In the language of marketing, packaging means the way a product or service is presented to prospective buyers. It could be the box toothpaste comes in, or the label on a bottle of cola. But it also includes the themes of advertising campaigns, the descriptive copy and much more.

In marketing professional services, packaging includes all the things you do to establish your unique niche in the marketplace. It includes the way you structure your services and products - the ways people can buy your expertise. It also includes the descriptive language you use to explain what you can do for your clients and the graphics you use in mail pieces, brochures and other promotional tools. And, it includes the ways you deliver your expertise - the processes through which people actually receive your services or products.

Focus on developing a service or product that is ideal from the client’s perspective, and you’ll have a much more marketable offering. That approach might seem to you to be exactly backward, but that’s precisely the way major marketers go about bringing their products or services to the market.

copyright Nido R Qubein

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