Marketing Lessons From A Man, A Boy and A Donkey

I do love Fall!

As the seasons start to change you can almost see the optimism oozing from people. It’s the time of year that people in the US start sharing their love for cooler weather and anticipation for all things ‘Fall’. For me, I love that my girlfriend oftentimes reminds me of the imminent pumpkin carving and annual ‘bat o lantern‘ making sessions.

In business, well…the optimism and individual love for ‘all things Fall’ is there. Ultimately people are also preoccupied with the need to finish the year strong and drive revenues. <sigh> Just as you thought this was going to be a fluffy post about Fall with an entertaining parable.

A parable there is, that comes in a minute.

For now, I want you to think about your current situation. I wouldn’t blame you for having ‘a moment’ at some point this month where panic sets in as you look at the calendar and think “eek! There’s only x days until the end of the quarter!” Being the determined business people you are this panic may result in you increasing your marketing activity in an attempt to have more sales conversations.

It is this drive that can have a negative outcome as you lose focus and leave some of the marketing fundamentals at the door. You may be thinking about changing your message or using new channels to deliver your message in an attempt to please everybody and influence as many people as possible. It is this that reminds me of a short story about an old man, a young boy and a donkey.

An old man, a boy and a donkey were going to town. The boy rode on the donkey and the old man walked. As they went along they passed some people who remarked it was a shame the old man was walking and the boy was riding. The man and boy thought maybe the critics were right, so they changed positions.

Later, they passed some people that remarked: “What a shame, he makes that little boy walk.” They then decided they both would walk!

Soon they passed some more people who thought they were stupid to walk when they had a decent donkey to ride. So, they both rode the donkey.

Now they passed some people that shamed them by saying how awful to put such a load on a poor donkey. The boy and man said they were probably right, so they decided to carry the donkey. As they crossed the bridge, they lost their grip on the animal and he fell into the river and drowned.

The moral of the story? In Marketing, if you try to please everyone, you might as well… Kiss your ass good-bye.

For a number of small businesses there is a challenge in creating a message that resonates with the needs of those that they are meant to serve. If you ‘cast the net wide’ and dilute your focus you will be trying to please everybody and, as the parable illustrates, may as well kiss your ass good-bye.

If you are looking to drive revenues to close the year strongly think about your target market, your ideal customers, your existing customers and what their needs and desires are in order to find a message and an offer that can turn into revenue. This will lessen the panic factor, keep your ‘ass’ firmly in place (!) and help you to enjoy some of the finer things about this time of year.

Thanks for stopping by,



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