Not every marketing job is created equally. Sometimes you get the glorious top of the pyramid in marketing land where you have a brilliant story just waiting to be told, backed by a fantastically great product that everyone wants. Other times you are on the bottom of the slag heap. You have no story or worse an actually negative story built upon the shifting sands of a horrible product.
There are four levels in the marketing Pyramid of Radness.
As you move up the pyramid you encounter more and more radness. As you move down the pyramid you encounter more and more badness. Most marketers like radness. Most customers like badness. Not coincidently as you move down the marketing pyramid towards badness the market size correlatedly increases. There is a nearly unlimited market for poor quality crap matched to slick but baseless stories. Yes Wal-Mart and Coke I am talking to you.
H L Mencken (b. 1880) said it best:
No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.
There is a reason the best quality products are not the market leaders in most markets. Customers want what other customers want. That’s why I don’t give them what they want.
Most marketing geeks love to be in the rad position at the top of the pyramid. You have (or create) an absolutely brilliant story that is magical and resonates with everyone in your target market. Customers become rabid fans evangelizing for you. The product is unique, compelling, sexy cool, cutting edge a must have and perfectly executed at the perfect price. This is the pinnacle of the marketing pyramid of desire. It’s still a ton of hard work, still requires lots of luck and magic and is not a guarantee of success. But it certainly makes you look good doing it and the chances of hitting a hat trick in the World Cup final that is marketing is that much higher.
Deep underground, in the basement of the marketing pyramid exists that not-so-awesome combination of an OK or even bad story coupled with an actually bad product. The not so fun zone. Now the best marketing minds can pull a rabbit out of the hat and produce simply brilliant marketing tricks and turn a horror story into a masterpiece. Not too often, but given enough money and resources you can sometimes out market a bad product with a bad story.
I am sure this pyramid idea over simplifies the whole spectrum of marketing and product. I find often that over simplifying a big concept and forcing it down to some punchy phrase and alliteration works wonders for coalescing the complex into the simple.
As Einstein famously said:
If you can’t easily explain it to a six your old, you don’t understand it well enough.
Is the marketing pyramid stupid or rad? Cast your vote in the comments below.