Saturday, October 16, 2004
Is Your Marketing a Corpse Flower?
Photo credit: Claire Ehrlinger, Quail Botanical Gardens.
University of California, Davis
from an article by
John Pickrell in England
for National Geographic News
July 18, 2003
"A flower taller than a man, stinking strongly of putrefying roadkill and colored deep burgundy to mimic rotting flesh, sounds like something from a low-budget science fiction movie. But Indonesia's titan arum—or "corpse flower," as known by locals—is a real, if rare, phenomenon, pollinated in the wild by carrion-seeking insects.
But corpse flowers are not only found in the wild and many have bloomed in recent years in botanical gardens worldwide from England to Arizona."
[Also see other National Geographic articles on the "stinky flower" and weird plants.]
Is your marketing a corpse flower?
Does it smell of rotting flesh, decaying substances, putrid decomposition?
I'm sorry. I don't mean to be gross, vulgar, or obnoxious. This is probably the strangest post you'll ever read on this site. But at least it will get your attention.
Let's face it: some marketing programs get you nowhere. They seem dead. Useless.
Some marketing fails to emphasize the one strong point that differentiates a company or product from the competition.
It uses "we-oriented" corporate fluff talk. "We (blah blah blah)...our products are (blah blah blah)...our expertise is (blah blah blah)."
It fails to provide photos of the product in use by people as they solve a problem, gain a benefit, or enhance their life.
It fails to provide complete, easy to understand details, complete lists of features accompanied by strong, desirable benefits of each feature.
It fails to clearly identify who the product is made for and why this type of user needs it right now.
It fails to explain powerfully how the product is honestly superior to competitive brands (if this is indeed true, not hype).
It fails to provide all the information the customer needs to decide which model, size, color, options, etc. best suited to their individual needs.
It assumes that customers already know certain things they may not know at all.
It has an arrogant, strident, hard-sell, old-fashioned "push the product on the customer" tone.
It consists of a web site constructed by someone's daughter as a college project, copy written by someone who knows what they want to say, but not how to say it as a professional copywriter, and art that is boring, building-oriented, or full of generic smiling people who are obviously stock images and not real personnel or real customers.
It fails to use satisfied customer testimonials or pretigious endorsements.
It fails to use 100% money back guarantees, limited time offers, or discount deadlines.
It fails to provide incentives for customers to refer friends and relatives.
It has reluctant, half-hearted, outsourced, impersonal, inept customer service, thus no sense of customer loyalty or word of mouth advertising power.
It's out of touch with dynamic business blogs and highly interactive web sites as marketing tools. It has no user-community building apparatus.
It's a big stinking Corpse Flower.
So everybody has to try harder. The sales staff, business process workers, customer service, dealers and distributors, advertising agency--everybody has to double their efforts, as they drag around a cadaver.
The corpse flower, stinky flower, devil's tongue, rotten flesh flower, or whatever it may be called, hides underground in a storage tuber and arises from its sepulchre once every one to three years.
It blooms, around midnight, for only 48 hours, then collapses again. While it's in blossom, it send out its hideous stench in undulating waves that alternate from the smell of dying elephant to rotten eggs.
The amorphophallus titanum stink flower attracts those creature that enjoy feasting on, and laying eggs in, decomposing carrion. Flies, carrion beetles, etc.
Heralded as the world's largest and stinkiest plant, it can grow up to 12 feet tall.
I first heard of these things on the disreputable Art Bell radio program about 10 years ago. I thought it was a hoax. It's not. These things exist. Nature is not exclusively beautiful, peaceful, and nice smelling. There are some real horrors and stinkers out there.
Similarly, all the flowers springing up in the garden of marketing are not pretty and pleasingly fragrant.
You must elevate your vision and seek marketing strategies that are living, in touch with how people really think. Mentally Correct.
If you're slogging along with mediocre, schlocky promotional material that doesn't do justice to your products, that keeps your business from growing vigorously, consider the root of the problem.
Maybe you need to dig up the stinky, sluggish, slop-bucket marketing "plants" and replace them with beautiful, professional, prestige marketing "flowers".
Step up to the bright light of living, real, vibrant Mentally Correct Marketing.
Posted by steven edward streight at 2:03 AM