More Product Or More Customers?

Earlier this week, a very smart person asked me if I would rather have "more product or more customers" - in effect asking if it made more sense for Argyle to make very near-term investments in product development or customer acquisition.

I said "more product" without hesitating and then proceeded to give what was probably a rambling, incoherent justification for my answer.

Here is a more structured argument:

1.  The best marketing program is a great product - especially considering the social media-fication of the Internets.  And doubly especially considering that we're selling a social media marketing product to social media marketers that LOVE to talk about social media marketing to other social media marketers.  The better the product, the more people talk about us, the more people talk about us, etc.  Phil Libin - CEO of Evernote - makes a similar case in this video.

2.  I'm not interested in filling a weak funnel.  We're already generating revenue, but I'm not ready to crank up the marketing spend just yet.  Our website is OK and getting better.  Our app is good and quickly becoming great.  We can keep humming along with a primarily hustle/social driven marketing program, grab the dollars that we can, sink a couple more months into product development, and then make big marketing investments once we feel better about the payoff economics.  Why spend money to drive targeted traffic to a semi-complete site/product?

3.  We don't have a lot of resources.  Given our stage, we need to spend on things that build permanent value.  $10k on software development builds a feature that we'll always have and that makes our product much more compelling.  $10k spent on marketing will give us some customer acquisition insight...but only temporary insight and at a very small scale.

Note that I'm not a "build a product and worry about making money later" kind of guy.  On the contrary, I LOVE selling and look forward to selling/marketing Argyle like the rabid wolverines that we are.  We're just not there quite yet.  But we will be very, very soon.

And the correct answer to the "more product or more customers" question is actually "both - as quickly as possible".  :)