Stop Making New Products (And Start Marketing The Old Ones) . . . Why Creating New Products is Making You Poor


Hello, my name is Clay Collins and welcome to this episode of the Marketing Show. And by the way, I just got done finishing what is probably the worst macchiato of my life. I should have known not to order this when the barista didn’t know how to make it initially and was, you know, told me some story about how Starbucks had invented the macchiato for commercial purposes which I know its complete BS, because when I was in Italy recently they were being consumed left and right, so Starbucks, by the way, did not invent the macchiato. And just for you information, if someone ever tells you that they did, they’re probably gonna make a pretty crappy macchiato.

Anyway, that has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with today’s marketing show which is all about a limiting belief that most people have in business that is sort of stopping them from truly creating the kind of income that they need to make to really-really-really turn their business into a long term serious endeavor. So as an intro to this, I want to talk about the three ways that most people believe they need to pursue or the three ways that most people go about trying to create more income in their business.

So the first way is…to increase products, right? You can sell more products to your existing lead base or your existing customer base. So that’s method number one.

The second way is to increase traffic to your existing offer. So you send more people to your sales page or to your offer page and that results in mo’ money.

The third way is to increase conversion. So you can have the same amount of traffic going to the existing offer and if the percentage of people who buy based on that sales pages increases then your gonna make more money, right? Because you’ve tweeted that sales page, you’ve honed the message, you’ve refined the message, you’ve done stuff to increase conversion.

So these two bottom things, right? Increasing traffic and increasing conversion, come about as the result of marketing. These are marketing activities. Getting more traffic to your website is absolutely a marketing activity. Increasing the percentage of people who see your offer who end up buying is also a marketing activity. Creating more products is absolutely not a marketing activity, which doesn’t mean it’s bad. I’m just saying it’s not a marketing activity. Now most people, when they need to create more income in their business, go about it by creating more products. And the reason for this really comes from a limiting belief that, drastically increasing their traffic, is going to be difficult to do, and drastically increasing conversion is difficult to do. And because they don’t really know how to increase traffic or increase conversion, they end up increasing the number of products that they produce. And long term this is much-much-much more costly than increasing traffic and increasing conversion. The reason for this is really twofold.

The first is, increasing the number of products that you create is incredibly- incredibly costly. Every time you create a new product, you need to divert your focus away from the marketing piece and you need to create a, you know, not only a new product but you need to create a new sales letter, you need to create a new website, you need to create a new message, you have to, you know, there’s just a flurry of activities that happen when you create a new product from scratch. It’s not about the product at all, in terms of the time. That takes up some of the time, but the majority of your time, you spend creating new sales messages, new email marketing campaigns, getting new affiliates for your new product, and doing a whole bunch of stuff. Every time you start from scratch to create a new product, it costs you. It also costs you because it confuses your customers. If you are in a certain market and you spend the bulk of your time promoting one product in that market and all a sudden you have a new product, I guarantee you that no matter how clear you are about who the two products are for, people are going to get anxious and they are going to get confused and they are going to be much-much less likely to buy when you have multiple products.

The Paradox Of Choice, By Barry Schwartz

Because, what happens, there’s a book called The Paradox of Choice that’s entirely about this, but what happens is people don’t like the anxiety they feel when they have to decide between two different things, and often, they end up purchasing nothing at all. So, this is incredibly costly to do. Why is this less costly to do?

Well, you can create systems to increase traffic. You can create pay-per-click campaigns, you can create SEO campaigns, you can do a variety of things to automate the process of bringing traffic to your business. It does require some investment, it does require tweaking and honing and testing and tracking and doing some analytics goals, and you know, creating systems.

But when you invest in increasing your traffic, you’re investing in a high ROI activity that can be automated, right, and scaled. Buying traffic and converting it is something that absolutely can be automated, and absolutely can be scaled.

Increasing conversion also is something that can be automated and that can be scaled. You can hire a copywriter, you can bring people in house, you can create a system around testing and tracking in your business that allows you to increase conversion.

On the other hand, creating products is something that is very-very-very difficult to automate and scale. Yes, you can create systems around creating products and you can outsource it, and you can do a bunch of things there, but a know very few truly great products that have been created as the result of automation, right?

Normally if you want to create a good product, you bring in your best people, your best engineers, your best thinkers, and you have them dedicate, you know, some serious brainpower and some serious creativity and some serious research and development funds to creating a product.

So, you know, this is an incredibly costly thing that you can do. What most businesses do, and why most businesses fail, is that they spend about 80 percent of their time making new products from scratch. And they spend about, oh, anywhere from, you know, 20 percent of their time to 10 percent of their time, creating sustainable marketing systems for increasing their traffic and increasing their conversion in a sustainable, automated fashion that grows their business long term.

So, I guess what I want to propose to you is this. Every time that you think you need to create a new product in order to increase your revenue by selling a new product to your existing customer base, it’s costing you. It’s costing you time. It’s, in a number of cases, decreasing conversions in your business because people are becoming more and more and more confused about what to buy.

So, instead of creating new products – which you do need to do occasionally – I encourage you to focus on traffic and to focus on conversion and drive more traffic to the same offer. Tweak that offer. Test that offer. Hone it. Refine it.

Create a system around marketing your product and tweak it and hone it, little by little, ratchet it up, you know, make little tweaks here and little tweaks there, to your existing marketing systems. Drive more traffic, increase conversion and you will have a much, much, much higher ROI than if you just go about increasing your products.

But again, this is a serious marketing activity, and as much as people would like to think of themselves as marketers, most people are not ready to go out and buy traffic. They aren’t ready to really, really, really test conversion and do what needs to be done there. They’d rather just write 50 more blog posts. They’d rather just, you know, just have another brilliant idea about creating a new product and have a suite of products, right?

So, the real marketing work is going to result in higher ROI. So, my advice, once again, is that, if you think you have to create another product in order to increase your income, you have a marketing problem and you need a market solution.

Anyway that’s it for today’s marketing show. Thank you so much for watching and I will speak to you soon. My name is Clay Collins, and I hope you have a wonderful day. Take care.

  • Maybe he meant frappucino?

    • Now THAT . . . Starbucks did invent.

      • According to ‘the lore’ from back when I used to work at *$s (quite a few years back), the Caramel Machiato was an original recipe – essentially a vanilla latte with caramel drizzled on top.

        BUT, “machiato” simply comes from the Italian word for “mark,” referring to the fact that the espresso is marked with a small amount of milk froth. This obviously is a much more traditional type of coffee drink.

        Apparently, somebody along the way got confused, and now lots of baristas (usually self-appointed arbiters of coffee truth and myth) seem to think that it all sprang fully formed out of Howie Schultz’s head.

        Oh yeah, also good video content. IMO it’s particularly important to realize that creating products is not in itself a bad thing. However, creating products *as a marketing activity* is often a problem.

        • I KNEW you’d have a comment about the starbucks thing. Nice.

  • Tazima

    sage advice as always Clay! i really appreciate this video. i noticed that i was defaulting to i-need-to-make-a-new-product mode whenever i felt financial stress. this video has already saved me LOTS of time, energy, and anxiety. 😉 thank you SO much!!!


    p.s. i freakin’ LOVE your shirt! the bracelet is a nice touch, too.

    • Awesome. And yup, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve almost fell into the “I need to make a new product” trap. Glad this helped out. And glad you like the t-shirt.

  • This reminds me of the Law of Line Extensions from 22 Immutable Laws . . . They were talking of brands versus products but it was along the same lines. The guidance to ensure that you’re marketing your existing product(s) prior to creating new ones certainly makes sense.

    Good video and looking forward to more great stuff!

  • So, for example, I shouldn’t need to create an iPhone or Android App, right? I’m sure I can dramatically increase conversions and traffic to my 1980s MSDOS utility program. That software you created at age 15 still selling great without a single modification?

    There are many successful companies that create products *and* market them.

    The second half of the video never loaded for me,so maybe you address this.

    • Yup, if you only make a product every 30 years, you’re going to have some problems.

      Also, I’m talking about creating ENTIRELY new products. Not new versions of existing products.

      One of the reason why Apple is beating the crap out of their competitors right now is because, comparatively speaking, they have FAR FEWER products than their competitors. This focus allows them to make the few products that they do have . . . better. And to better market their existing products.

      • Fair enough. FWIW, I do have one(1) product and am putting priority on the second two activities before going for more products.

        But you can certainly end up beating a dead horse if you don’t anticipate how or when your product could become obsolete.

        • Right, so update the product. Make version 2.0, 3.0, etc. I’m talking about product brands, not versions of the same product.

  • Great content again and nice to see an Threadless original!

    • Thanks Adam. I’m a threadless fan. Stopped buying their stuff awhile ago when it got to cute. But I’m a big fan of some of the older prints.

      • Me too, in fact that is my favorite shirt of all time. 🙂 Great video man.

        • Thanks dude. I’m having a lot of fun with this.

  • Lisa

    I’m intrigued by your point about too many products lead to confusion. Overall do you find there is a certain “golden” number of products (or in my case program/courses) that allow a sense that the buyer can choose the “right” fit for them without falling into paralysis? Or would you suggest simply one product for sale at a time (period)?

    • It really depends on the market. Having different levels of the same product is helpful (rather than new products) . . . but really this depends so much on your market and particular situation.

  • I do think a product can do marketing for you. Free reports and so on – as long as they are valuable.

    I do agree with the general point you are making.

  • Tim

    You are doing an awesome job of providing value that is consumable. Thank you for that.

  • Marcos

    One question. Where do you place affiliate marketing. Let’s say I create the very best course in the world to train dancing chihuahua ( I can of course start selling chihuahua dancing shoes from an affiliate to increase my customer list lifetime value, right ? Do you consider this activity as marketing as well?

    • Marcos. Absolutely. That actually sounds like a great use of affiliate marketing. And yes, this 100% qualifies as marketing. Love the video by the way . . . I want a dancing chihuahua.

  • Clay, thank you for the challenge to focus on traffic and conversion — marketing.

    What do you say, though, about the success of Joe Vitale, which seems as MUCH dependent on creating new products (some 50+ books, several audio sets, etc.) as on great marketing (at which he is a master)?