20/02/2016

Marketing - it's not rocket science. Well, almost.

Let's forget for a moment about whether marketing is an art or science. That is a debate neither side is likely to win; and saner minds argue it is both. What's more interesting to see is whether the enigma of marketing can be decoded a bit if we consider it as a science. I already hear people saying 'It's not rocket science', but what if we were to draw parallels with something as difficult to achieve but simpleton visualise - nuclear fission.

But before I draw the parallel, let us talk a bit about how the marketing landscape has changed and continuously evolves. Traditional ways do not work any more. Billboards, newspaper inserts, tacky classified graphics are already in the past. Soon we will become immune to television ads, YouTube pre-rolls and even online banner ads. So what is the new face of marketing then? If we look at the most popular products or ideas that have spread then they did not take use of the above channels, at least not in major part. What most popular brands or services or products have is a dedicated group of people out there that are passionate about the product or service and talk about it. Call them advocates, fans or whatever label we want to give them - they are the ones who spread the word more passionately than the most dedicated salesman.

This is where the nuclear fission analogy comes in, making it easier to think about this phenomenon. In a typical nuclear fission reaction, a Uranium atom absorbs a neutron and releases three neutrons in turn, which go on to be absorbed by three other Uranium atoms. Now imagine the Uranium atoms as people - those you want to use your product or service, your target audience, early-adopters even. The neutron you feed them is the information about your service, a sample of your product - that one key piece of information that the consumer seeks or you provide which is the trigger to for him to use, much like the trigger for the nuclear reaction.
How the nuclear fission reaction works

Uncontrolled, the released neutrons in the fission process could result in a chain reaction. And while that is not good in a reactor (but encouraged in an atom bomb), it may be good for your marketing strategy. Imagine multiple Uranium atoms (your users) absorbing neutrons (the information / samples you provide) and they in turn tell other atoms who release further neutrons.  This is one chain reaction you want to have on your side.

The point to think about is - have you / your business identified where those Uranium atoms are? Where do they congregate and talk to other atoms? And what information do you want to seed to them? That is a better discussion to have than a media plan meeting with your suited agency folks in an air-conditioned room over coffee and bagels.

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