I found Seth Godin's blog. Seth is smart, funny, and thinks about marketing. I've read his books, and although I can't say they've convinced me he's right, they've certainly made me think about marketing in a new light. I certainly consider his ideas plausible.
Update: I now believe his ideas are correct. I will be sending him the following letter:
Dear Mr. Godin,
Here in downtown Seattle there is a hole-in-the-wall specialty soap shop in a not-particularly-good position on sixth street.
The owner, Charlene, promised herself she would run no print ads for a year – just to see if she could do without the hassle and cost.
I don’t think she’ll ever need to run a print ad. She’s been, without knowing it, following your advice.
Running Wild Spirit is a charming little shop with a pleasant layout and a monster-footed bathtub filled with fake bubbles and bath toys. She runs it entirely by word of mouth, and what with her free soap samples and genial nature, her customer base has been steadily growing for months.
But very recently she has made an addition to her shop staff. A small bubble machine. She places it just outside the door.
Sales are skyrocketing. She estimates that just having the machine has doubled her sales on those days. When the machine is down, her sales drop.
A bubble machine would probably always draw foot traffic and increase sales – at least, until they are banned as public nuisances – but the strength of her store lies not just in the bubble machine, but in the synergy of her presentation. The bubble machine, the charming little store, the bathtub, the free soap samples, and the cheerful demeanor have created a very devoted following.
I have no particular need of specialty soaps.
But I think I’m going to buy some.
If anyone doubts the ideas of ‘added value’, ‘purple cows’, and ‘telling a story’, you can send them to Seattle to see it in action.
The funny thing was, until literally an hour ago, I didn’t know whether to believe in your approaches. They seemed too sparkly-clean and naïve. Now I definitely believe.