A Really Dumb Marketing Promotion: Dung Beetles and Skunk Cabbage

There are all sorts of rules for marketing, whether by direct mail or e-mail. There should be a guarantee. (“Satisfaction guaranteed or your money back.”) There should be urgency. (“This offer expires in 48 hours.”) And so on.

Sometimes the marketing can include a suggestion of exclusivity. (“This offer isn’t for everyone–just those who want the best.” Or “We’re only making this offer to a select few.”)

One thing I haven’t seen–and I’m an avid reader of marketing advice from Glazer-Kennedy and a slew of others–is: Don’t deliberately insult the recipient. Nor have I seen: Don’t cast the product you’re marketing in a bad light.

Maybe we can learn something from the folks at eTapestry.com. That company’s latest e-mail promo compares its potential customers to dung beetles. But, hey, that’s not the end of it. It compares its own product to skunk cabbage.

Mutualism.  It’s what they call it when two things benefit each other.  And just like the dung beetle and skunk cabbage help each other out, so too do eTapestry’s fundraising software and your cause. 

eTapestry compares itself and its customers to dung beetles and skunk cabbage

eTapestry compares itself and its customers to dung beetles and skunk cabbage

I imagine it was an attempt at humor. Maybe.

(Now, I’ll admit that this marketing promotion didn’t have anything to do with real estate–the main topic of this blog. Still, those in real estate do a lot of marketing–direct mail, internet, paid advertising, and so on–so the takeway message is the same, even if you’re focused on real estate.)

Browsing around the Internet, I ended up at Wikipedia, which had a list of other forms of mutualism and symbiotic relationships. Among them:

  • Humans and intestinal bacteria
  • Leafhopper and meat ant
  • Acacia Ants (Pseudomyrmex ferruginea) with the Swollen Thorn Acacia Tree (Acacia cornigera)
  • Euprymna squid (family Sepiolidae) and bioluminescent bacteria (Vibrio fischeri)
  • Anglerfish and bioluminescent bacteria
  • Moray eels and cleaner shrimp or cleaner fish at cleaning stations
  • Goby fish and shrimp
  • Sea anemones and clownfish, crabs or shrimps
  • Deep-sea pompeii worms and thermophilic bacteria
  • Ruminants such as cows and their intestinal bacteria and protists
  • Oxpeckers and rhinoceroses
  • Aphids and Buchnera bacteria
  • Ambrosia Beetles and fungi
  • Sharks and remora
  • fig trees and Amazon fruit bats
  • mole salamanders and Oophila alga
  • Sea anemone and clownfish
  • Hawaiian Bobtail Squid and Vibrio fischeri

Few of those are particularly attractive images. Given a choice, I guess I’d be the shark to eTapestry’s remora. Or I’d be a rhinoceros to eTapestry’s oxpecker. Or a cow to eTapestry’s intestinal bacteria. But I don’t know whether I’d prefer being a leafhopper or a meat ant. Or a worm to bacteria.

Nor can I imagine this is the image eTapestry was trying to convey. Dung beetles? Skunk cabbage?


5 Responses to A Really Dumb Marketing Promotion: Dung Beetles and Skunk Cabbage

  1. Mysterious Ms. K says:

    But wait – there’s MORE! They actually have an ad featuring the Anglerfish and bioluminescent bacteria. Seriously.

  2. its intresting to see that moray eels and cleaner shrimp at cleaning stations

  3. It is my first time I visit this blog. I found a lot of interesting stuff in your blog especially its discussion. With the tons of comments on your articles, I guess I am not the only one having all of the excitement here! Keep up the excellent work.

  4. Dan Kennedy Books…

    A Really Dumb Marketing Promotion: Dung Beetles and Skunk Cabbage « Real Estate Solutions…

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