The 4 ring circus of marketing

circus is commonly a traveling company of performers that may include clownsacrobats, trained animals, trapeze acts, musicians, hoopers,tightrope walkersjugglersunicyclists and other stunt-oriented artists. The word also describes the performance that they give, which is usually a series of acts choreographed to music and introduced by a ringmaster.


In that same way marketing is a circus. You have the circus of traveling Ads, Spins, Buzzes, Hypes, Clicks, and Get the Word Outs.

Most individuals believe that marketing is the outer circus.

Marketing is advertising, it seems. The job of marketing in this circus is to take what the factory/system/boss gives you and hype it, promote it and yell about it. This is what so many charities, politicians, insurance companies, financial advisors, computer makers and well, just about everyone does.

Then instead of having what describes performances, you have the circus of what tell’s stories, the price, the community, and your tribe.   This circus of marketing  has so much more leverage. This is where you a tell a story that resonates with a tribe. This is the act of creating alignment, of understanding worldviews, of embracing and elevating the weird. Smart marketers in this circus acknowledge that their product or service isn’t for everyone, but bend over backwards to be sure that some people will be able to fall in love with it.

The next circus of marketing would be the usability and support.This is easily overlooked. This is the act of changing what surrounds the actual product or service, adding enough usability and support and atmosphere that the perception of the product itself changes. Example: Zappos did this for shoes. Ikea almost willfully goes in the other direction with its furniture assembly and delivery approach. When you go to an expensive restaurant, you’re buying far more than what the chef cooked. Products and services are only commodities if you treat them that way.

And the innermost circus of marketing is the ringmaster (the product or service itself). When the thing you sell has communication built-in, when it is remarkable and remarkable meaning worth talking about, when it changes the game–marketing seems a lot easier. Of course, that’s because you did the marketing when you invented the thing, saving you the expense and trouble of yelling about it.

When in doubt, and your eyes cloud over, when your marketing isn’t effective, there’s no doubt about the answer: go one circle in.