Marketing with Castanets

 

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Let’s be clear: I don’t like castanets. Those clickity-clackety chips of annoyance can only be played by Spanish ladies with fingers like hummingbirds. I can play a bunch of things: flute, guitar, piano, Pandora – but, those nasty little wooden clackers of doom must be powered by voodoo or something. Hate ‘em. Even that clattery little noise they make sets my nerves on edge… sounds like somebody playing a skeleton. However, they do pave the way for a lame pun. If you know me, you know I love those.

Anybody’ll tell you that it never all comes in one package. Instead of wishing for a ship to come in, wish for a procession of small boats… a flotilla of good-news-bearing yachts.

If a ship comes in, that’s only because you won the lotto, or Raspy Crackers won  the third race at Del Mar. It doesn’t happen. If you think that your ship’s gonna come in… well, my friend, I hope it does.

In marketing, you don’t want your ship to come in. Stay out there, my seafaring friend, cruise around, spread the word.

Think of all the one-hit-wonders you’ve ever heard of – folks who made a killer splash all at once, but then were gone. Pet rocks. A dozen rock ’n’ roll bands that you can’t even name, but their song was pretty cool.

One ship. One big hit. A ton of cash today, but, tomorrow?

The fisherman that drops the hook is planning on bringing in a big fish. I’m gonna make a killer pile of dough on this baby. If the fish goes vegan, or saw what happened to cousin Wally in these very waters just yesterday, the line comes up empty.

The fisherman with the nets routinely feeds his family because he brings in many small fish over time. His plan is to score many, many small hits. The aggregate effect is the same, if not better, than his single-hit brother. Sure, the brother makes the occasional big buck, and laughs at the net-gathering sibling. But the folks at the bank smile at net boy, because he is constantly in there, making his deposits.

It’s not unknown for a tuna to wander into a small fishing net. At first the fisherman thinks it’s the score of a lifetime…we’ll eat for a year! But then the reality sets in: the net is torn, and the ability to gather tiny fish is lost.

You’ve read about those companies that make a nifty niche product, and one day find themselves approached by the likes of Costco or Walmart. Their production model changes, their business model changes, their focus changes, as they ramp up to meet the incredible demand of the super retailers. The dollars are nearly huge – our ship came in!

But next year, the big retailers turn away to another supplier, and the customer base, the loyalty, the little fish, are gone. Filing for Chapter 11 is seldom pleasant.

Your marketing, then, might do well if you consider casting nets… oh, there it is: castanets! My humble apologies.

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Author: John Reinhart

Technical writer John Reinhart says his mission is to get his readers excited about the possibilities of and wonders of planetary science. A happily married father of three from Ventura, CA, he holds a bachelor’s degree in Communications from Cal State Chico, has taught college courses, and is working on his second novel.

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