Howard Davidson: Have Gun, Will Market
In the mind of Howard Davidson, from Arlington MA. I am a rootin’ tootin’ marketing deadshot and star of my own black-and-white fifties TV series, Have Gun, Will Market. Bear with me.
But when I see PSAs like the ones Station Film created to challenge President Trump’s idea that teachers be armed to prevent school shootings, I am instead awed by the ability of today’s communicators to mix their messages.
In the PSAs, teachers are armed and the law of unintended consequences rears its full-metal-jacketed head.
In one, a pistol standoff breaks out the in the teachers’ lounge when Alan’s blueberry muffin is stolen by a colleague. The thief won’t give back the purloined muffin and instead draws on Alan. Three more handguns come out as teachers take sides. Luckily, a cool head prevails.
In another, a bully is dissuaded from clobbering the geek whose homework assignment didn’t yield the expected grade. How? A teacher walks down the hall and reveals a holstered pistol. No more sending students to the principal’s office!
In the third, a math teacher has no grasp of geometry. She did, however, finish first in her sniper school class.
These PSAs are reasonable examples of advocacy by creating worst-case scenarios. Arm teachers, and, well, weapons corrupt and weapons in school corrupt absolutely.
But back to my TV series.
Like these teachers, marketers have great responsibility. We’re responsible for our clients. We have to help them grow their business, learn new ways to interact with their customers, and master all forms of marketing, from TV ads to targeted email marketing to artificial intelligence analysis of all that big data that’s metastasizing on their servers. Like the schools that employ these teachers, where enemies and whack jobs can come in and throw the lesson plan to hell, my clients can be disrupted by new ways of doing business or a competitor that just blows up the marketplace.
But like the teacher who solves the muffin crisis, even though I’m locked and loaded and prepared with my weapons – killer creative, sizzling segmentation, awesome analytics, bodaciously big data – I hold all of my weapons in reserve until I’ve surveyed the terrain and talked it over with all parties. Because in marketing, there’s nothing right about going off half-cocked. You achieve worst-case and people get hurt.
Tune in next week for another episode of Howard Davidson: Have Gun, Will Market.
-Howard Davidson Arlington, MA