With recent introductions out of the way and the admission of a certain degree of ignorance, I’ve come to allow this space to be one of honesty (perhaps brutal might be am apt description). Just like with lies, with one confession overcome, I’m compelled to make more. For instance, the allowance of excessive amounts of PDA on Airplanes is further evidence in my eyes that the TSA is not doing a thorough enough job of preflight screening (maybe this isn’t their fault, but someone is responsible for my discomfort).
Another truth far more applicable to this blog is that what are likely marketing basics to many of you are remarkable moments of discovery for me.
Recently, I read a story about the worst cholera outbreak in recorded history that took place in london during the late summer of 1854. While the goal of the story was to convey the amazing series of coincidences that lead to the eventual discovery of its epicentre and the basics of cholera and it’s cure (spoiler – its water, drink lots of water), it is all told with a small but very important map at its centre. This map essentially depicts the movement of the cholera through both it’s death toll and the people who lived near its Point of origin. The map is simple, easy to read, and extremely convincing.
The irony is that the man who created this map had expressed its basic ideas for a long period of time prior. His efforts to persuade the leading authorities around him were essentially useless until its creation. And while his presentation of this map was not a fireworks display of clarity for all mankind, it was the first step to convincing the right people that it’s creator (Dr. John Snow, for those who are wondering) was indeed right about the outbreaks origins all along.
So, in summary: In this story, a really good, well thought out, and extremely important idea is finally given ground because it was framed in a way that allowed large groups of people to instantly understand it’s point.
I’m sure you all see where I’m going with this.
A good idea or product can be inherently good but for other people to both understand and embrace it requires something else entirely. Of course, while many things any of us do, including ourselves here at Manifold, will never play a role on the scale of life or death that Dr. Snow’s map did, it provided me with the perfect framework to understanding another basic element to this game we call marketing – we all judge books by their cover, and that lies at the forefront of what we as marketers do. This blog post in itself is an example of this – the idea for it was quick, but I’ve spent far longer on the right syntax and semantics to convey it.
So while this is likely not news to any of you, it’s another way of framing a good idea that excited me to the point of wanting to share it with you.