In his book The Obstacle is The Way, Ryan Holiday tells the story of the Zemurray Fruit Company.
The year was 1915. Zemurray was locked in a conflict with the much larger, much better funded United Fruit Company.
The problem? Both companies wanted to buy a plot of fertile farm land between Guatemala and Honduras.
But two different farmers claimed ownership of the land. They both believed that the land was theirs.
The industrial giant, United Fruit Company, dispatched a team of high powered lawyers, surveyors, historians, and legal experts to determine who really owned the land.
The lawyers began digging through paperwork and pulling historical records trying to determine who owned the land so they could buy it.
Zemurray, the small upstart, didn’t have the resources, time, or expertise to go toe-to-toe with United Fruit.
So they did something different: They met with each supposed owner individual and bought the property from each of them.
Sure, they paid twice, but they saved more than the cost on attorney fees. And most importantly – they got the land.
The issue was settled.
There is value in doing what works.
In marketing, I see companies all the time trying to do marketing the “right way”. They are constantly trying to emulate what they see other companies doing.
The problem is the “right way” is different for each company.
And with today’s technology, platforms, and opportunities changing constantly, the right way is a moving target.
So rather than asking, “What’s the right way to do marketing?” ask “What works for my marketing?”. That’s a much better question.
Until next time,
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