Welcome back.

Have you thought about subscribing? It's free.

The four curves of want and get

Fourcurves_1When you launch a product or service, you want A. A is a steep launch curve followed, after the dotted line, by a steep acceptance curve.

A is the curve of the hot knife through butter. A is the curve of big buzz. A is the curve of the unserved audience and the perfect product.

That’s what you want.

Usually, though, you get B.

B looks the same as A for a while. But then it stops.

B stops because your product isn’t for everybody. B stops because many products and services have a small but eager audience of early adopters, just itching to try something new. And then, once reality sets in, your idea stops spreading.

When I launched my ebook, I thought for a minute I had A. I sold a bazillion of them in one night. And then, bam, I had B. Sales slowed really fast. Why? Was it lousy? I don’t think it was. I think the audience of people who were standing by to buy an ebook from me was very connected to me and to each other, they heard about it right away, they bought it right away and then, there you go, the entire market was saturated.

Curve C is the most likely curve of success, not A. Curve C is the remarkable product that takes a while to find its footing. Then, the idea starts moving through communities and slowly builds, until, yes, this product is remarkable and you’ve got a hit.

Alas, soon after launch, there’s no way to tell C from D, is there? D is the curve of the dud. Most launches are duds. Not a lot you can do about it.

The challenges are pretty obvious. First, how do you decide where to put the dotted line? Second, how do you avoid killing something too early, or celebrating too early. And last, how do you know when to kill a dud? The odds are with those smart enough to launch something new tomorrow.

All Marketers...

Now on the comic page

A reader sent this one, from the Denver Post, just this weekend.

I’m not at Gnomedex

But I probably should be.

Very few conferences are hard to miss. This appears to be one of them: Gnomedex 5.0 Updates.

Buzz marketing

Ron McDaniel would like you to check out: Buzz marketing: Start Building Buzz Today – Buzzoodle.com.

I think they’re about to discover that people don’t do it for the rewards… and that the rewards can actually get in the way of finding the right people.

Well of course they work!

Jeff Goldman points us to Stop Alien Abductions.

I guarantee that 100% of the customers have never, ever been abducted. Guaranteed!

My money, your cause, what now?

The first example is not a dilemma at all.

A clerk in the shipping department of your company gets arrested for embezzling funds from the Girl Scout cookie drive. She confesses and is about to be sentenced. Do you fire her?

After that, though, it starts to get pretty tricky.
The off-shore factory that makes the shoes you sell pays its employees the prevailing local wage, which is far less than the workers would make in your home town. You have leverage to move to another factory or try to change the system, but you don’t think Wal-Mart will pay you the premium you need to pay more for your sneakers.

Trickier still…

Your sneakers are made under your control, but the machines used in the factory are made in another factory that uses slave labor.


You have a freelance programmer who, when she’s not working for you, designs websites for groups you find politically repugnant.


You really love your Toyota Prius but it bothers you immensely that Toyota makes a ton of money selling inefficient SUVs around the world.


The University of Michigan just placed Coca Cola on probation to protest the company’s actions overseas (India Resource Center – Coca-Cola Placed on Probation By University of Michigan .)

Do you use Google or MSN or Yahoo? Are you less likely to use them when you hear about censored pages in China? (MSN Censorship & Revisiting The Need For Better Disclosure)

Money equals power. Money flows via marketing, and it flows to organizations that provide goods and services that make us feel good.

But what happens when the non-delivered-non-product-based actions of those organizations start to impact the way we feel?
Do consumers (industrial and individual) have an obligation to spend their cash in an ethically consistent way?

I have a valued business partner that creates products I’m ashamed of. What do I do now? Do I have an ethical obligation to change how I work in order to make my feelings clear? Do I have a marketing obligation?

What happens when consumers use the power of their money to make their feelings clear? What happens to Chick-fil-A or Bennetton when every purchase becomes a political act?

None of this used to matter very much. Corporations had far less power and were far less global. Their actions were more contained–you probably didn’t have programmers in three continents and factories on four. And the competition for dollars was much less severe.

Today, though, we’re seeing documentaries about the community-breaking power of a Wal-Mart. We hear about the hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks that oil companies manage to lobby for. And an oil spill or industrial disaster can wipe out big chunks of the environment.

To date, with the exception of easy (and juicy) black and white scandals, consumers of all stripes have been resistant to taking action with their dollars. Part of it is laziness, part of it is selfisness and part of it is a long history of a laissez faire disconnect between what we spend and what we believe.

I think that’s about to change.

SPAZZSTICK for tired, sleepy lips

Corie Conwell sends us to: SPAZZSTICK dot com :: The World’s ONLY Caffeinated Lip Balm!. Be sure to check out the back story.

This Is Broken

It’s Seth Godin Week!

In honor of the second anniversary. Thanks, Mark! This Is Broken.

All Marketers...

The $9 story

Check in to the $300 a night room at the W Hotel in San Francisco and this high tech device is waiting for you on the desk.

No, it doesn’t run the Windows Tablet OS. Yes, it is a cheap way to tell a story about the hotel’s attitude. If you don’t “get it” they don’t lose much, but they weren’t talking to you in the first place.

Marketing has a marketing problem

Here’s what the email I got the other day said:

"…always assumed you were a blowhard who didn’t know his ass from his elbow, because you present yourself as a marketing guru and I find that those who say they are marketing gurus seldom know anything about marketing."


Name a cellist. Did you say, "Yo Yo Ma"? Of course you did. There are other cellists that might be as good in some ways, but you don’t know who they are. Could it be because Mr. Ma knows something about marketing?

Name a religion. Did you say Shaker? Of course not. Could it be because the major religions of the world are organized to spread, while the very structure of the Shaker religion ensured its demise?

Think of the people you know–in every endeavor, in every line of work. What business discipline would they most benefit from? Would it be the ability to do a spreadsheet or manage inventory? Perhaps they’d do better in their careers or with their passions if they were better at conforming to human resource regulations… I don’t think so. It all comes down to spreading ideas. If you can get your art or your political cause or your restaurant’s ideas to spread, you win.

Somewhere along the way, people were sold that marketing [equals] advertising. Somewhere along the way, people were trained that marketers are liars (oops). And now we wonder why people are so clueless about what marketing really is. Maybe it’s because marketing has a marketing problem.

Marketing is not about trickery or even insincerity. It’s about spreading ideas that you believe in, sharing ideas you’re passionate about… and doing it with authenticity. Marketing is about treating prospects and customers with respect, and realizing that it’s easier to grow the amount of business you do with happy people than it is to find new strangers to accost.

Think about that the next time you hang up on a tele***keter.