March 28, 2022

And the circus came to town

circus big top lit up against night sky

I was talking with someone last week about the need for marketing within L&D to get the various stakeholders engaged with L&D initiatives. They had a rather narrow view of what marketing is. So I related an old story that has been circulating in marketing circles for decades…

If you find out what people want to see at the circus, that’s market research.

If your circus is coming to town and you paint a sign saying, “Circus coming to the Fairground on Saturday”, that’s advertising.

If you put the sign on the back of an elephant and walk it into town, that’s promotion.

If you deliberately lead the elephant past schools and through residential neighbourhoods, that’s market segmentation.

If the elephant walks through the mayor’s flower bed, that’s publicity.

And if you get the mayor to laugh about it, that’s public relations.

If you create an offer that combines a circus ticket, an elephant ride, and an elephant photo, that’s packaging.

If the town’s citizens go to the circus, you show them the many entertainment booths, explain how much fun they’ll have spending money at the booths, answer their questions and, ultimately, they spend a lot of money at the circus, that’s sales.

If you ask everyone who took an elephant ride to participate in a survey, that’s customer research.

It’s all marketing. All of it.

Which bits of marketing do you get involved with?

Even if it is keeping the elephant fed and watered, what you do still has an indirect impact from a marketing perspective. Would the public want to see a skinny elephant?

And if you are in a public sector organisation and think that marketing is not relevant to you… think again.

My best wishes, Paul

Paul Matthews

CEO and Founder of People Alchemy

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