Create or promote?

April 2, 2024

Have you ever felt like a juggler in the business circus, with one hand crafting a product and the other waving a megaphone? Let’s talk about the tightrope walk between creation and promotion.

For the past 18 years, I’ve been the ringmaster of my own business show. But here’s the thing: the hat you wear matters. 

  1. There’s the product hat, heavy with the weight of innovation and value creation—my personal favorite. 
  2. And then there’s the promotion hat, feathered with the art of making noise in the market and getting that product into the customers’ hands. 

These are almost like two separate worlds, requiring different skill sets, maybe even different personalities.

Recently, I dove into developing a new software product. I was in my element, focussing on creating value, solving problems. But now, as the product nears completion, I’m without a promotion partner. 

It’s time to switch hats, and I’ll admit, the transition is quite the mental acrobatics—from solving problems to solving the puzzle of reaching the customer.

This shift isn’t just about changing tasks; it’s about changing mindsets. And surprisingly, I’m finding joy in this promotional phase, perhaps thanks to lessons from past projects. My thoughts are tuning into a different frequency. Where once I was engrossed in what the customer needs, now I’m strategizing on how to get our solution to them, contemplating the channels, messaging, and market positioning all at the same time!

Amidst this, I’m reading an insightful book on the dichotomy between a product manager and a product marketing manager—two roles, two modes of thinking.

I’m realizing the importance of donning both hats initially, especially as a founder. It’s about having your finger on the pulse, ensuring that the marketing language feeds back into product development. They’re intertwined, not isolated!

It’s a double win—fine-tuning the product through firsthand experience and shaping the promotional strategy. As the company grows, I’ll look to outsource marketing to someone whose strengths align with that hat, allowing me to return to my preferred role of product creation.

But enough about my hat-switching adventure. What about you? 

  • Are you more of a creator or a promoter? 
  • Do you find yourself wearing both hats in your projects, or have you delegated one to focus on your strengths? 

Gideon Shalwick


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