I smoke and since that tends to harden the arteries, I consume a slow-release aspirin called Ecosprin. It thins blood. The slow release works infinitely better than a flood of it.
As I thought about it, I thought about a brand of bespoke shirts called Thin Red Line. Last year, I got mail from them inviting me to try their shirts. The shirts arrived, immaculately packed in a cloth bag. After I had ordered a couple of times, they asked me names of six people who I thought would appreciate their shirts. When I asked them if I could spread the word, they politely declined.
Anyone else would have jumped at the idea of some quick maven marketing done gratis for them. Not these guys. They believed in the Ecosprin Effect: slowly releasing the product in the marketplace. Mindful of the fact that in niches lie riches.
One year later, a couple of days ago, they asked me to talk about it on my Facebook community page. I was more than happy to.
Make no mistake, this was no beta testing on their part. It was just a carefully cultivated strategy to regulate the flow of the product and, of course, choose their consumer.
I wish more of this happened in the sphere of marketing. Credit card brands think they follow the Ecosprin Effect but in reality, they don’t. The “By Invitation” wrapper that covers their offerings is bullshit.
Thin Red Line, on the other hand, doesn’t even enquire about what you earn. It has meaningfully separated taste from wealth. Even its Facebook page is a closely-knitted community that is made up of the 80-odd people it does business with. Entry to the page is by invitation alone.
In an age where affluence is becoming the prerogative of just about everyone, great brands will have to “ketchup” supply so that just a bit drops off on the marketplate.
Mary Quant once said, “ Less is more.” Conventional marketing never understood that.
Perhaps, it is time to understand that marketing in the future will be all about creating markets, not catering to them. Shepherding consumption, not scattering it.
The writer is CEO, Equus Red Cell