Chicken or Egg – Which Comes First When Marketing?

Hatch those ideas!

When it comes to marketing a product or a service, sometimes this question can leave your brain scrambled!

Gordon Selfridge, the founder of the famous department store in London is credited with describing the ‘5 Rights of Merchandising’, which are as follows:

Your goal in successfully marketing your wares is to provide:

  1. The ‘right’ goods (or services);

  2. At the ‘right’ time;

  3. In the ‘right’ place;

  4. In the ‘right’ quantity;

  5. At the ‘right’ price.

That’s all well and good if you already know what the customer wants, but what if neither you nor the customer is sure of what they want?

Needs or Wants?

Needs or Wants?

What if neither of you even knows what they need? Even if you do know what they need and you bring that to their attention, will they actually want it? Further yet, the golden question is, “Do they want it enough to pay for it?”

I was discussing this very scenario with a fellow consultant as she was brainstorming some ideas for new product and service offerings. She had identified some consistent patterns of skills and knowledge gaps occurring on a regular basis in a variety of companies around Perth.

The chicken and egg question was whether to design a low level entry product and test it out on the market, then seek to upsell your more lucrative packages, or whether to go out to the market on a discovery mission, hope to find a need, turn it into a want and then design a solution.

The second option clearly aligns better with the late Mr Selfridge’s formula, but it doesn’t take into account the time factor of constantly revising or even replacing your offering, and there is the old adage that ‘time is money’.

My conclusion, at the risk of clashing with mainstream coaching views, was that in reality you need to do a bit of both. Marketing brings with it what Seth Godin (my marketing guru) refers to as ‘the tension’. He argues that there is a tension or an inherent conflict between simultaneously holding the beliefs that:

  • This might work;


  • this might ‘not’ work.

Most people cannot handle that tension, so in many cases they don’t even try. They give up on hatching an idea so as to avoid the pain of the tension without ever really exploring the possibilities. They stay safe in the harbour but their sails never experience the joys of the winds of discovery.

A chicken that crosses the road can no longer be called chicken!

A chicken that crosses the road can no longer be called chicken!

Here’s my take on it– marketing is a game of trial and error.

You can boost your chances of success by doing more research, but at some point in the game there’s no way around the chasm of uncertainty – you just have to take that leap of faith, but more than that, you must be willing to fall.

You can minimise the risks of injury from your fall, by weighing up the downside or by limiting the exposure, but leap you must.

If you leap with enthusiasm and look at the experience as a leap of learning rather than a leap of danger, you may just stumble upon a different road to success. Perhaps that’s why the chicken did cross the road – because in doing it was no longer a chicken!

If you’d like some help to develop your marketing strategy, feel free to call me, Tony Inman today for a chat on (Australia) 0419 860 382 or use the contact form on this website.


Contact us

by Tony Inman

TONY INMAN is the CEO of Club Red Inspiration. An entrepreneur who has set up over 20 businesses, Tony is a business, life and mindset coach, consultant, mentor, presenter and trainer. A former mentor at Curtin University’s Centre for Entrepreneur-ship, he has coached hundreds of business owners and executives across the globe. Tony is the author of several books including ‘If Life’s Worth Doing, It’s Worth Doing Well.’ He is passionate about helping people to fulfil their potential and follow their dreams.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *