I’m supposed to be writing about marketing today, so here goes…

I’ve got this great Aggie joke, see, but it’s hard to tell. You have to help me out. I’m going to write it out in dialog, but you have to understand some writing conventions to “get” the joke. The important one is this. If you have two people talking, when one character stops in mid-word and the other starts immediately below that, you have to imagine that the second person is cutting off the first. Okay. Here goes…


I understand you’re the greatest Aggie joke teller in the world.


Um…yes. That’s correct.


How did you become the greatest Aggie jo…


                                              [interrupting] Timing!


It’s funnier when you hear it in person.

My point is that TIMING is vitally important in marketing. Marketing is essentially telling a story in a compelling way – in a way that makes your audience – your customers – want to hear it. Better stories – and better storytellers – usually win. But there’s one way for an inferior story to win, and that’s to be the first up to tell it. In other words, if you are telling a story and your competitor has a conflicting story, the one who gets the word out first will generally win. Why? Because if the first storyteller is believeable, your audience makes up their mind to believe their story. By the time yours comes along, it’s too late. (In marketing-speak, this is called “First Mover Advantage”.) This also holds true when you think about damage control. If you have a problem in your company, burying your head in the sand until someone else has a chance to spin things there way is not the way to win friends and influence customers. Getting your story out there first is the key to getting people on your side. He who hesitates is lost – or at least the First Mover Advantage is lost. And you know what they say…”You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”

So the next time you have a story to tell – to either launch a new product or to keep an exisiting one from getting beaten up in the marketplace – think about not only how compelling your story is, but how quickly you need to tell it.

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