The Four Questions…in Marketing

Recently I gave a talk at the Belvedere-Tiburon Library near my home. I talked about the “Devils” that plague us all in marketing – Inertia, Expediency, Distraction & Tunnel-Vision – with the need to be aware of their “siren songs” to avoid entrapment.

Than I went on to discuss the “Angels” that I consult when faced with a marketing problem. First, The Nobody who overcame extraordinary odds to become somebody, “Alexander The Great”, so as to make the indistinguishable connection between military and marketing strategy.

Followed by The Mathematician, whose Fractal Geometry points to the need to view markets more closely to see distinctions unnoticeable from afar. Were Benoit Mandelbrot also a marketer he would tell us to get a more powerful magnifying glass! when we seek to define our market.

Then, The Italian Economist, Vilfredo Pareto, who gave us the most important law in marketing, The Law of the Vital Few, also known as the 80/20 rule, which suggests that in most cases 80% of the effects are due to 20% of the causes. Pareto informs us that not all customers are equal; some are worth more than others, and a few much more than the average.

Next, The Observer, Malcolm Gladwell, who showed us how stories, in marketing’s case product stories, spread much the same as diseases, by infecting “carriers”.

And, finally The Ancient Polymath, Archimedes who defined “leverage”, in our case BUZZ or “word-of-mouth” the most powerful force in marketing.

I then went on to discuss a case history I was witness to that displayed the dangers of listening to the Devils, instead of heeding the Angels, concluding with Marketing’s essential “Four Questions”:

  1. What is my business?
  2. Where is my opportunity?
  3. Who are my Vital Few?
  4. How best do I convert them?
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