Welcome to island marketing

If you run a business on a small island, every interaction matters and every customer is precious.

There’s a finite number of people you’re going to be able to sell to, and every person you interact with knows everyone else, so you always have to be on your best behavior. You can’t say, “tough” and then go on to the next person. You can’t run ads that churn and burn through an endless supply of naive prospects. You only get one chance to make a first impression, and on the island, that impression matters.

Consider an airline in Chicago that can bully and bluster and greedify its way through an endless supply of business travelers, and compare them to a short hop carrier on Martha’s Vineyard. The Vineyard airline knows that people can always switch to the other short hop airline or the ferry, and they also know that the folks they serve have power, because there aren’t an endless supply.

As you’ve probably guessed, like most things in our ever shrinking world, all marketers are now on an island.

The island perspective is the Zappos model. Every interaction is both precious and an opportunity to delight. Marketers no longer have the money or the platform to harass and promote their way to success by burning through the market. Instead, we have to act like we’re on an island earning and then nurturing a permission asset.

Through this lens, banner ads and various pop ups make even less sense than they used to. So does the insane act of outsourcing the random dialing of businesses to do telemarketing spam. We used up those resources a long time ago.

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