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Thursday, July 31, 2008

In the 'triiibe'

Marketing guru Seth Godin mentioned it once only, in a single blog posting; if you prepurchased his next book, Tribes: We need you to lead us, you would be invited to join a private and closed group of individuals on an inside track. He originally on July 29 set the target to close entry to the group to be August 10, but a few hours later announced that entries would close at 11 a.m. on July 30. With an incredibly short deadline, I hesitated not a second to commit the $14 at Amazon to pre-order the book. This night, I received the promised email inviting me into the closed group. At latest count, Godin's Triiibe has 827 members, suggesting to me the number will head up somewhere above 1,000 but below 2,000 before all the the numbers are counted.

Of course, Godin and his book publisher have played a brilliant marketing game -- they've presold these books, and sold them to a group of people who, sensing a place of inside leadership, will popularize the concept in blogs, marketing materials, and other communications, virtually assuring an incredible marketing launch come the book's formal release in October. Meanwhile, the early adaptor triiibalists, for want of a better word will have bragging numbers with low identification numbers and status as leaders in our fields. (I sense I am one of just a handful of people in the group connected with the AEC industry -- noticing just one person so far in the space served by this blog; someone affiliated with the SMPS Boston Chapter.)

The ground rules for Godin's closed triiibe group include the fact we are not to post stuff within the group out in the general public, spam other members, engage in overt self-promotion, or otherwise irritate the community. We'll be booted out if we do. Equally, we are not to lurk, sitting quietly and not speaking up. We are supposed to share our thoughts and insights, and cross-fertilize our imagination and experience. The result is as you can expect a somewhat egotistical, high-octane marketing community (which I can brag and say, with 100 per cent truthfulness, you can't enter, at least now.)

Does this kind of, for want of a better word, mass exclusivity, have a place in construction industry marketing? I'm not sure. As I detailed in my last post, most successful AEC firms thrive on a solid word-of-mouth reputation achieved within sectors and activities of influence rather than conventional marketing models. We're far less interested in hiring an architect, general contractor or sub-trade who has a cool image, than one we know will do the job really well, reliably, and on budget, and with good working spirit during the process. Although there are some exceptions, most of our projects span relatively long times of intense and sometimes potentially confrontational interaction -- just doing our work really well, with good spirit, creates an indelible brand in the minds of our customers, and it is simply a matter of building on the word-of-mouth dynamics to find new and repeat business. In other words, we don't really need to do much 'marketing' if we do our work well.

Still, it is nifty to belong to an exclusive, private group, The Triiibe.

1 comment:

Joe Cure said...

So another question is - is exclusivity desirable if it's arbitrary?

The fact that Seth sold out in days suggests yes but does that have an adverse effect on the quality of the community? (present company included of course:))