Apr 16, 2010 Comments Off on Underground Economies Understand the Power of Marketing
What got me thinking about this was a story about black tar heroin in the LA Times back in February. The sub-headline read, “Sugar cane farmers from a tiny Mexican county use savvy marketing and low prices to push black-tar heroin in the United States.”
The specifically savvy marketing in this case involved putting a premium on customer service (being willing to deliver even relatively small amounts), customer satisfaction (they called to check on quality), customer referral programs (discounts if you bring in new customers), etc.
Oddly enough, just prior to learning of this underground marketing success story I had written about the marketing techniques of the botnet masters. And then, soon thereafter, I heard an episode of OnPoint focused on Bernie Madoff and one of the guests, Frank Casey said, “We understood the ‘game’ of exclusivity and we understood that was his marketing concept.”
In other words, I’ve come to realize that no matter how much people malign marketing, they cannot deny its critical role in every kind of business success. The reality of the value marketing brings to any enterprise, far from being difficult to demonstrate, is in fact undeniable.
As proof of this contention, I submit the fact that “marketing” is a recognizable function in the dark allies and backrooms of underground economies, where many conventions of the above-ground economy – signage, agencies of record, HR- are eschewed in the name of fugitive efficiency.
Interestingly enough, and more as an aside, Frank Casey also points out that, in addition to his marketing concept, Madoff’s scheme relied on a sales (or at least a business development) function. As Casey puts it, “There was always somebody in the middle that was willing to make money feeding victims into the monster.”
Image Courtesy of indfusion.