(I originally wrote this particular blog back in June of 2006. I figured I would break in this new blog spot with an “oldie but goodie”. — Matt
“It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer. Charlotte was both.” – EB White, Charlotte”s Web.
We were having our weekly staff meeting today, and though I have no idea what even prompted it now (I think we were talking about the marketing section of our pending site redesign), I uttered forth such an eloquent and lucid non sequitur that it was met by gasps and giggles. Not that it was that shocking… just that I don’t think that anyone had actually thought about it before. Either that or they never expect lucidity from me. One or the other.
Charlottes Web – The Brady Bunch
Charlotte’s Web, that children’s classic of book, stage, cartoon (and a really creepy song by the Brady Bunch Kids) is really the secret history of that most powerful of marketing tools… the internet.
Alright, hear me out, and put away the straightjacket for a second.
For those of you that haven’t ever heard the story by E.B. White, the rundown from Amazon.com is featured in the blockquote.
An affectionate, sometimes bashful pig named Wilbur befriends a spider named Charlotte, who lives in the rafters above his pen. A prancing, playful bloke, Wilbur is devastated when he learns of the destiny that befalls all those of porcine persuasion. Determined to save her friend, Charlotte spins a web that reads “Some Pig,” convincing the farmer and surrounding community that Wilbur is no ordinary animal and should be saved. In this story of friendship, hardship, and the passing on into time, E.B. White reminds us to open our eyes to the wonder and miracle often found in the simplest of things.
Now this is true, but they may be reading too much into the story. Or maybe I am. But here’s what I see.
We have a client with a product (actually, the client IS the product in this case, but I digress), who is faced with a situation: find an alternate use for the product, or face planned obsolescence.
So the client hires a marketing person to help teach a narrow minded target market to look at the product in a new way.
The marketing person employs a unique strategy to shed light on the client’s product: short, concise descriptions of the product in an unexpected place. The results are VIRAL, with word of mouth spreading like wildfire!
Just when the target market tires of the message, they CHANGE THE MESSAGE, ensuring repeat customers! They do this once more, employing the research of an outside contractor (remember they sent Templeton the Rat to find another word on his scavenging trip?) for new content that would ensure the success of the client.
Indeed it worked like a charm! When the project was over, the target market had seen the product in a new light. The client no longer faced impending redundancy, but rather enjoyed success for years to come. Thanks solely to the intelligent use or that most powerful marketing tool… THE WEB!
Mind you, the poor marketer died from the stress of multi-tasking, but that’s a subject for another Blog.