We Live in a Marketing Economy

This post from Bob Lefsetz really resonated with me the last week. I read Bob daily and if you read this blog you know that (subscribe to Bob here). I don’t think Bob fully practices what he preaches about branding and marketing, but who does? Who really can?

This riff from Bob about product excellence, the great consolidation and the marketing economy blew me away.

So what this means is we are in the great consolidation, where fewer players have more power. I’m not saying you can’t eke out a living on the bottom, but that’s where you’re going to reside. Either you’re a winner or a loser, the middle class of art projects has failed, just like the middle class of life.

So we live in a marketing economy.

First and foremost your wares must be excellent. Shy of that, forget about it. This is an absolute rule, especially in an open marketplace. Theatrical distribution is a closed world, there is not an unlimited number of cinemas. But there is unlimited real estate online. And when that is the case, the public flocks to the winners. And even in limited marketplaces it’s a winner-take-all economy. Usually only one, maybe two of the films of the thirty released every week succeed.

So the powers-that-be are getting more powerful.

This is a byproduct of the age of clutter.

And it’s no different in entertainment than it is in tech.

You’ve got to gain traction as an individual. But once your project has legs, you’ve got to make a deal with the devil to push it over the top. Otherwise, you stumble, you plateau, because you just don’t have the muscle and reach to get your message heard.

Look at it from the customer’s perspective. Who has time to listen to all this dreck? You expect me to wade through millions of songs, scores of playlists, to find what I like? No, I gravitate to the winners, that which is known.

So, you want to sell out.

There, I said it.

The internet promised independence.

But today independence is death. Because you’re just another jerk with a megaphone and even if your product is great it’s being drowned out by the hype for that which is not.

So you need someone who can huff and can puff and can blow the house down.

And that’s a major movie studio, a major record label, a major book publisher, a major tech company.

So much truthiness.

Bob sure knows how to bum out a founder!


Also published on Medium.