A Marketing Fairy Tale – Part 9

Nancy, our 9th Fairy Godmother says needs satisfaction is what marketing is all about. Can she convince our woodman that the needs of his potential customers are important to his marketing efforts?


The next day, the woodman spent the whole morning constantly looking at his watch. His conversation with Tina on the previous day had made him very conscious of time, and timing. He had started to make up a calendar of when he would put up new posters, and had even started to look at some possible dates for events he wanted to hold. He had gone so far as to begin to rehearse a routine of tricks and stunts with Ralph.

When the next day came, the woodman’s head was full of ideas about how to capture the interest of the members of his target market. Irene had helped him make an important shift to thinking from the point of view of his prospects. He had already begun a list of subjects to present and discuss on his new posters.

He was pleased to see, at the regular time, a cloud of smoke that was navy blue in color. From the cloud there appeared another magical being, who introduced herself as Nancy. She began the conversation by saying, “Wow! After a full morning of doing magic, I am already worn out! I feel as if I could fall right over!”

The woodman was surprised to hear this, and without really thinking he asked, “Would you like to sit down?”

Nancy replied, “I would love to, but what will I sit on?”

The woodman had been sitting on a stool, which he offered to Nancy, saying, “Here. I made this myself!”

Nancy said, “Thanks! I needed that! Now, what have you learned so far?”

“I have learned much!” the woodman said. “Yesterday, I learned the Platinum Rule of Marketing, which is: ‘Give unto others that which they would give unto themselves, before you would have them give unto you their business.’”

“Very good!” Nancy said. “Now you will apply that rule to whom?”

“To my prospects,” was the woodman’s reply.

“What are prospects?”

The woodman thought for a moment, and then said, “They are the people who I hope will become my customers.”

Nancy’s next question was, “What are customers?”

“They are the people who buy my furniture!” was the woodman’s enthusiastic reply.

“That is true,“ said Nancy, “…from your perspective. You have learned the Platinum Rule of Marketing, so let’s take that idea one step further. Now put yourself into the shoes of your customers. Let’s say that you are one of the townspeople, and you buy furniture from the woodman. Let’s say that one of your friends asks if you are a customer of the woodman, and you admit that you are. Let’s say, then, that your friend asks you why you are his customer. What, then, would you say?”

The woodman’s reply to this challenge to his imagination was, “I would say, ‘Because the woodman makes the finest furniture to be had!’”

The woodman beamed with pride, until Nancy retorted, “You are still thinking about your products, and yourself. You have not yet said what it is you do for your customers, from their point of view. What are you trying to create through your marketing?”

“Relationships.” replied the woodman.

Nancy asked, “When our relationship first started, minutes ago, what was the first thing you did for me?”

“I offered you my stool.”

“Why?” Nancy asked.

“Because you looked as if you needed it.” was the woodman’s reply.

Nancy continued, “Very good. Now, if you were the customer, speaking with your friend about the woodman, and your friend asked you what the woodman did for you, what would you say?”

The woodman, a bit perplexed, but catching on to where all this was going, said, “I would say that the woodman fulfilled my needs for furniture.”

“Now you are getting there!” said Nancy. “What, then, are some of the needs of your prospects, that you can fulfill?”

The woodman asked, “I have just come up with a list of the interests of my prospects for my marketing campaigns. Can I use some of those to help me think of the needs my prospects might have, or is that cheating?”

“In marketing,” said Nancy with a smile, “we use everything we can!”

The woodman went on, “The interests I listed included such things as woodworking, ranching, hunting, archery, and checkers.”

Nancy asked, “What needs do those types of people have, that you can fulfill?”

“Well, woodworkers need workbenches” continued the woodman, “and ranchers need fences. Hunters need blinds to hunt from, and archers need bows and arrows. People who play checkers need, well, checkers.”

Nancy said, “Very good, indeed! Many people think that marketing is about taking products and services that you have to sell, and convincing people to buy them. My sisters and I believe that marketing is about getting to know your prospects, discovering their needs, and then figuring out how to satisfy those needs.” She gave the woodman a moment to think about this idea, and then asked, “By the way, what have my sisters and I been doing for you?”

“You mean, other than spooking me?” said the woodman, hoping that Nancy had a good sense of humor. “I guess you have been satisfying my need for knowledge and ideas about how to do good marketing.”

“Well, then” said Nancy with a wink, “I guess that we have been doing our job! If we have, then you might want to hang on to us, or at least our ideas.” With that, she disappeared in another cloud of navy blue smoke.

The woodman had come to realize that these magical beings had a penchant for fore-shadowing, as well as a flair for the dramatic. He was thinking about the concept of “marketing” as “needs satisfaction” and also looking ahead with anticipation to finding out what Nancy was alluding to when she spoke of “hanging on”.