Blame it on Seth Godin and Thomas Friedman. Seth Godin was blogging about the internet and Thomas Friedman wrote about how flat the business world has become. And both suggest that a flat world has more opportunities than ever before. On the flip side, a flat world increases competition because you can no longer build a business model like a castle with a big mote to keep out the competition. And this perplexes me as someone who assists companies in doing castle building exercises known as strategic plans.
Thinking about Godin’s “Weird” analogy and Friedman’s earlier book, From Beirut to Jerusalem, I had another weird thought. In comes the Clash singing Rock the Casbah. The Casbah is the new model for today’s market place. I think of the crowded alleys and narrow streets where there is something surprising in every booth. And you really can’t see ahead. Everyone is looking for this and that. No “Big boxes” in the Casbah.
So how to help someone develop a marketing plan for the Casbah? Given this mental image with The Clash playing in my background, this whole thought pattern was bizarre. Then a new image hit me. This isn’t bizarre, its bazaar marketing.
Bazaar marketing requires that since no one can see you given the flatness of the streets and the vast number of booths and shoppers, you have to approach your product differently. You have to make something so unique and appealing that shoppers in your booth started talking. And as they talk, going from booth to booth, the word spreads about your product. Whoever is in the bazaar that day will hear about you and if they are looking for your product, they will find you.
But to get the remarks going, you better be remarkable in what you offer. Your product or service has to be good enough for people to make remarks about it. The bazaar has too many other booths and too many crowds to just be average. No one goes to the bazaar looking for average.
So that is what I will incorporate into my discussions on strategic market planning.
When you go all out to make your product a little weird and certainly make it stand out in a crowd, you really can Rock the Casbah:)