April 01, 2005I was planning to write something incredibly funny and entertaining for April Fool's Day. I was going to tell a whale of tale. Fame, fortune, all would be mine. If I could only craft the right little fib. This, however, is not it.
I seem to think I'm a pretty funny guy. I find myself laughing at my own jokes quite often. While I do not generally find this laughing to be infectious for others within my immediate vicinity, it is not a huge leap for my imagination to pretend that you, dear reader, are chortling along, as well. Ah, the disconnected connectedness that is the Internet. So nice. And, of course, I can continue this deception because I'm just dull enough to believe my own hooey.
But, then again, there's a problem with trying to be funny.
You see, like the folks who wrote Why business people speak like idiots, when I'm put under too much pressure to be funny, I'm not. And the harder I try, the less funny I become. If you force it, it falls flat. You have to let it flow.
So, I got a bit down. No April Foolin' for me. But then I thought: Wait a second, you're in marketing. Spin baby spin.
So I decided to blame it on Seth Godin, instead. There is no April Fool's post because Seth was a little dark cloud. And being a little dark cloud myself from time to time, I decided to close ranks with Mr. Godin. People honk and flip me the bird in traffic, too. I'm with you, brother. So no funny funny from me.
But, wouldn't you know, it got me to thinking.
Probably the main reason I didn't come up with some joke is because, honestly, more often than not, this is the day that I play the fool. Oh alright, this is one of the many days that I play the fool. I'm not really that funny. And I can accept that. It's almost a role I relish. I play the straight guy. Other people's jokes are funnier because I fall for them. This is my role. And without me, those people aren't the jokers. Or so I tell myself. If a comedian tells a joke and there's no one there to laugh...
On April Fool's Day, I am the target market.
This is a role with which I am familiar. I like being the target market. Sometimes. And, it's important that I know that role. It's not my job to be crafty or devious. It's my job to be duped. And the people who do the best duping are those that tell mostly truths to formulate their lies. Those that are clearly over the top rarely fool even numbskulls like me. It's the nonchalant that gets me nonplussed.
Today is the day, above all others, that it's just my job to absorb. So, I went through the day being deceived and entertained. Especially by those who made their stories almost seem believable. And that, led me to my little pearl of marketing wisdom for the day:
Like the best April Fool's jokes, good marketing communications never seems forced. When it's forced, it's disingenuous. It's hypocritical. It doesn't work. And your target market refuses to cooperate. But when it's subtle and natural and in character. Then, you have a winner.
So be the market when you can. Play the fool from time to time. See your joke from the other side of the table. We all get so wrapped up in our machinations that we forget to do this, sometimes. And it truly is worthwhile. And I'm trying to do it more often. Because I hope it will make me better at what I do.
See, now I'm pretending that I'm the person reading this blog. Wow, this guy is funny. But he doesn't shut up. And I don't really get his point. Strange. When will this end? Oy.
I want the last five minutes of my life back.
Without your comments, this will only get worse, so comment, won't you please? And then, if it's not too much trouble, only if you have time, don't go out of your way on my account, or anything, but I really would appreciate it if you could return.
More fool than joker
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