A common theme in MBA marketing courses is that you, the marketer, are not the customer. The idea is that you need to validate your messaging, medium, and even product with the customer to ensure you’re doing things correctly. After all, you may be a 30-year old product manager for a product targeted at baby-boomers. Or you may be responsible for selling a gender-specific product to the opposite sex. In these cases you clearly are not qualified to act as a proxy for the customer.
But what about in a startup?
I tend to think that the best opportunities are those you uncover because you feel the pain yourself and the startup is your way of relieving that pain. This is clearly a generalization and even if you are the customer you’re not able to speak on behalf of every customer but as an entrepreneur with finite resources sometimes your best course of action is to build and market a product you’d want to use yourself.
So, you tell me. When is the best time to figure things out internally and when does it make more sense to go outside the company to find the answer?