Take this simple marketing quiz
Not so simple, actually, and about more than just classical marketing:
There are a hundred people in a room, perhaps a trade show or a small theatre. What's your choice:
- Sit in the back, watch, listen and learn.
- Cajole your way onstage so you can make a slick presentation that gets everyone on their feet, buzzing and excited, eager to do business with you or hire you.
- Set up a booth in the lobby that energizes and engages 12 of the people enough that they tell their friends, while it disturbs or mystifies two of the others and is ignored by the rest.
- Provide a service (like cookies and juice in a box at the exit) that many of the people there are appreciative of but few remember or talk about.
Most people say they choose #2. In fact, most marketers actually do #1 or #4, and it's only #3 that gives you the best chance--create a remarkable product or service, don't depend on getting picked to have a lucky break on stage, and gradually spread your purple cow among people who are truly interested.
Apple and Nike and Starbucks are trotted out again and again as marketing gold standards, because they are beloved by many and ignored or distrusted by few. But these are the outliers, the .0001% that don't represent what actually happens when successful ideas reach the marketplace.
The mass market is no longer. There is almost no room left for the next Procter & Gamble or Google. Instead, you are far more likely to do your best work if you are willing to delight a few as opposed to soothe the masses.