The Marco Polo Plan or the Sharks & Minnows Solution - You Be the Judge. Advertising Analogies for the Brand Impaired.
I've been spending a lot of time trying to figure out what I want to do next. While my future is still up in the air, there is one thing I can be sure of: I want to be involved with the marketing/advertising industry.
I know, I know, a ton of people want to be in advertising. What does it take? For starters, it takes extreme creativity and a passion for developing a brand. While I have the creativity up here (points to head), I don't have the creativity here (lays out hands), so what have I decided? I'm looking to be an account guy, a salesman of sorts. What do I want to sell? A product, a service, an idea, and a brand. How do I plan on selling this? Through an analogy that popped into my head just a few days ago, something I'm tentatively titling (and awaiting suggestions on), called the "Marco Polo Plan" an the "Sharks and Minnows Solution." Just a little something fun to think about next time you're out back at the pool.
In advertising, the two most effective ways of reaching an audience are communicating directly with them or letting them come directly to you. More or less the push and pull methods. Which is more effective? It all depends on the planning and execution, but it's safe to say that each are very reliable in terms of reaching an audience.
The first plan I'd like to talk about is based loosely off the popular swimming pool game Marco Polo. Why am I resorting to children's pool games to get my point across? Because everyone knows it, it's a simple concept, and it describes exactly what a company wants to hear in terms of results. Where am I going with this? Let's look at the game at its most basic level.
There is one player, Marco, who is unable to see anyone else in the pool. There are then numerous other players, Polos. who hide amongst themselves in the pool. The catch? Each time Marco states his name, the other individuals must reveal there location by stating Polo. Enough of the history lesson - how does this relate to advertising? There are so many companies out their without a brand identity. Their target audience is out there, revealing their locations, and still they cannot seem to find them. I want to help companies make sure that they never have to be Marco again. It's the simplest push method around. Find their target market, where they spend money, where they shop, where they network, what websites they visit, etc, and put them in direct contact with them through targeted campaigns and promotions. No longer shoud companies swim blindly through the water asking for signs of life- take your blinders off, get out there, and make your presence known.
Never heard of Marco Polo or just don't like the idea of the MPP? Well let's try the pull method, based off the other popular swimming pool game, "Sharks & Minnows." This one might be a little less popular, but the basics are still there. One individual, the shark, stands outside the water while the other individuals, the minnows, try and swim across the pool without making a splash. When the shark hears a splash, he/she is then allowed to jump in the pool in an attempt to tag a minnow. No one wants to be a shark, but in case, you should be willing to take a risk. Advertising says, make a splash, let the consumer come to you. Just being a small fish, flying under the radar, doesn't work for businesses. In this case, the shark is the consumer. He/she is waiting to be shaken or stirred. Advertising makes it possible to reach the consumer, communicate knowledge, and allow the user to act upon his or her discretions. I want to be the one who makes it possible for small businesses to be heard, and I want to be responsible for creating the splash that gets the sharks biting.
Let me know what you think about the Marco Polo Plan and the Sharks and Minnows Solution. Pitch it to the clients or pitch it in the trash? You be the judge. Either way, this should hit home with a few and give you a little something to think about next time you hear the kids in the pool.