Marketing Strategy Pyramids

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by: Sigurd Rinde

When I discuss  a new venture (and I have been involved in a few) with marketing-well-versed "business-persons", one of the first things they do is to draw a pyramid on a napkin (funny how these things always happens in restaurants…):

Then I’m asked to place our product in relation to what type of companies. What part of the pyramid am I going for?

If I do not draw an arrow to the top, index fingers are raised and a lecture is given – "the big bucks are on the top, that’s where you should be… etc."

(OK, "long-tail" is getting popular, buzzy even, so I might get away with an arrow to the bottom these days…but…)

That’s when I flip the napkin and draw this: 

This one does not describe the "firms", it’s my "standard" upside-down pyramid depicting the people working there. The actual persons, the thinking persons I want to converse, and blast the hierarchies.

I tell him/her that our product is cutting-edge (as they tend to be for most startups) and that we in fact will go for the tip of the pyramid, the bottom one.

That’s where the "radical" chaps/gals are. The not-so-stuck-in-the-past people. Those I can connect with. Because with no connection, no conversation, no fun, no partnership, no business.

And if you think about it, suspect that’s where Mr. Dell, Mr. Gates and most others of such stature started out.

Then they drift towards the top, like driftwood towards the surface. Just ask Jeff Jarvis if not that metaphor could be applied to Mr. Dell!

Another suspected phenomena: Even the "conservative" leaders of big corporations listens to the "radicals" (did I mention blogs? Internal or otherwise…). Thus the path to the "conservative" could just as well be via the "radicals".

Cutting-edge product – go for the bottom tip.

People’s attitude matters, titles does not.