Of Manhole Covers and Marketing
You’ve probably heard the question asked, "Why are manhole covers round?" Answers vary from the obvious ("because manholes are round") to the more obscure. Wikipedia offers several possibilities. My personal favorites?
- A round manhole cover cannot be accidentally dropped into the round hole it covers.
- The circular shape makes the heavy covers easier to roll.
- Round castings are easier to machine lathe than those of another shape and less expensive to produce in a size wide enough for a person to fit through.
- The round shape makes it easy to replace an open cover without having to line up the corners.
- A round tube holds up better against the earth’s compression surrounding it than a shape with corners would.
If I were to guess, I’d say it’s probably a combination of all these things (and maybe more) that made round manholes and manhole covers so popular.
Which brings me around to marketing.
Like a manhole cover, the best shape for your company’s marketing is also round. More to the point, the best approach to your marketing is a well-rounded one. Just as the reasons for using a round manhole cover are many and varied, so too are the reasons for choosing each specific element in your marketing plan. The big difference? In marketing, there is no one-size-fits-all.
As you consider new marketing opportunities for your company — and reexamine existing channels you’re not sure are still working as effectively as before — ask yourself, "How well does this approach fit with my overall marketing plan?" If the answer is "not very well" or the reasons you come up with for trying it aren’t very sound, you know where that idea should go: straight into the file shaped like a manhole cover.