Friday, September 10, 2010



After a couple guest blog posts here and here on (Thanks, April, for letting me sit in), it's time to start my own product marketing blog.  That's me in the mauve shirt when I was doing product marketing at Google if you want to know what I sound like.

I like talking to customers and asking questions that get to the heart of the matter - to what the REAL value is.  Understanding what's important - how the customer is materially impacted - is what will set your product marketing, sales training and web site apart from all the MABUSHI that's out there.  I'll focus on how to get to that value with tips, hints, tricks and more than a few stories.   

By now you are probably wondering what MABUSHI is.  I first heard the term when I started working at an Israeli company in the late 90's.  (I'm at my third now).  The Israelis often used it in training classes, marketing meetings, strategy sessions, etc. Us Americans thought it was some derogatory Hebrew word or slang term, based on context and the tone of their voice.  They would dismiss something as, "That's just MABUSHI."  Finally, someone screwed up enough courage to ask what it meant, really.  They replied, "It's an acronym for MArketing BUllSHI@."

Talk about an eye-opener.  Israelis tend to be fairly pragmatic and quickly grow impatient when they think you're wasting their time.  And they're not shy about letting you know, either.  It was a great test bed for every piece of collateral we created.  If we got the "MABUSHI" label, it was back to the drawing board.  If not, we knew our technical buyers would at least read what we produced.

If you think about it, 'No MABUSHI' is also what's behind the Pragmatic Marketing paradigm, buyer personas and the discipline of viscerally understanding your audience and what's important to them.  Seth Godin is all about 'No MABUSHI' though I don't think he's ever thought of it that way.  Ask yourself, "Is this MABUSHI?" every time you produce something, edit someone else's work or read a website.  You'll be glad you did and you (and your customers) will notice the difference.

Maybe I'm starting a crusade (not the first) but if just one person stops screaming about their shiny new red thingy and starts talking about how red resolves their customer's core problem and thus reduces the amount of MABUSHI in the world, then I will be happy.  Juding from all the MABUSHI I see on web sites these days, it's either a no-brainer or an unattainable task.


  1. Hey Tim,
    Hey, thanks for being such a great guest blogger and congrats on the new blog! Looking forward to following it!

  2. That's great as far as it goes, but what happens when you say that something is just MABUSHI and a marketing person disagrees? You'll need some way of settling that question.

    As it happens I've been thinking about a similar question lately: what's the difference between "good" and "evil" marketing communications? My candidate for the litmus test is whether the communication will leave the target person more informed or less informed. Anything dishonest or misleading will result in the person's becoming less informed about the truth, and is therefore evil.

    Similarly, if making the product red helps the customer, then drawing attention to that makes a prospective customer more informed, while if it doesn't, then implying that it does makes a prospect less informed, and is evil.

  3. April,

    Thanks to you for getting me started. I'm already starting to enjoy it.

  4. Rohan,

    Thanks for the comment and good questions.

    If you disagree with the 'MABUSHI' tag, have some evidence to back up the claim in the first place. "Well, you may disagree, but when I spoke with the CIO of Megawidgets, he told me this message resonated with them because it was their number one pain. Discussions with other customers and prospects bear this out. It works so we're going with it."

    As for the good/evil construct and the red/not red message, it goes back to what is important and valuable to your targets. Good marketing informs based on supported research. Bad/evil/MABUSHI marketing talks about how wonderful things are because they are, not based on any known value to the customer. Emotional, uninformed, unsupported or frivolous marketing claims are not inherently evil, they are wasteful and can impede the process.

    Hope this helps.