Howard Davidson Arlington, MA

Marketing Guy – Arlington, MA

The Fine Art of Faking It – by Howard Davidson

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The fine art of faking it has long been a key skill for those employed in the subtle businesses of marketing, sales, and advertising.

Or, as Seth Godin put it, “Ship before you’re ready, because you will never be ready … ship when you’re prepared, when it’s time to show your work, but not a minute later.”

This is why content marketing is your friend. Take this wonderful campaign for a non-existent product by 72andSunny. Creative Director Tara Lawall is a working mom who tired of hearing about her “vacation” – that is, her six weeks of maternity leave. To illustrate the point, she spearheaded the fake site mommybahama.com. None of these products exist, but they meet a need. Even if it’s to just shove an unmarried sister’s face into your computer screen.

But this blog isn’t about maternity leave. I don’t know nothin’ about birthin’ no babies.

It’s about getting on the Internet and delivering. You do that with content.

When you’re developing the product, content helps you. Your blogs and your website give you a chance to hear from your target. Kind of like that trip to the Berkshires. Quaint inn or bed-and-breakfast? Skiing or antiquing? Ribbed or lubed?

72andSunny is all coquettish about its mommybahama website. But it’s doing a job. It’s like one of those long walks you take where you discuss The Future and Everything. Why you won’t live in the country (Grandpa was eaten by a pig). Why you’re terrified of bacon (Grandpa was eaten by a pig). Why you got to be called “Fingers” by all your exes.

At this point, it’s still all made up. You’re just managing… um, expectations. So you tell everyone your offspring will be going to an Ivy League School. Will be a Super Bowl quarterback. Will write the great American screenplay (though she’ll really want to direct). In product-land, you’re building desire in your audience with blogs and other content that promise help. They have the problem that your product solves. They’re anxious to give you their money. They’ll line up for your chicken sandwiches and fancy phones!

Then, next thing you know, you’re having a product launch! There’ll be plenty of Diaper Derby as you get the group together to squeeze it out. And then, when the product is born, there’s that post-launch mess. Stuff isn’t where it should be. Production is critical. Face it, it’s messy, people get sore, and it can be painful. But if you’ve been properly engaged and received the proper support, your baby should last.

Though there’s been a lot of tongue in cheek here (I’m not saying whose), the principle is clear. A product or a brand needs care and attention to grow. Times will be hard, and often it won’t be much like a vacation. You’re going to need to stick to a strategy. And while it may not be a graphically coordinated day at the beach, if you’re in it together, not only will your conception grow up strong, it will go out into the world and make you forget. Forget about all the worry at 3 am. Forget about how sore you were getting while you were pumping out ideas. And how tired you were all the freaking time.

(But, really. Give the new moms in your workplace some maternity leave and some slack. Because they’re doing marketing and mothering.)

Howard Davidson 

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