The Long Game

We live in a world of short-term results. The purgatory of quarterly earnings, as important as they are, dictate the prioritization, execution and measurement of pretty much all marketing efforts.

The upside of quick fixes is a collection of RTs, Facebook likes, YouTube hits and other scraps which seem to keep the ROI hounds at bay.The downside is much more profound, with an acute lack of continuity, organic growth and momentum.

There is light at the end of the tunnel, however. And we find it in the most surprising of places: a tweet. A series of tweets from @DrFNFurter of “Rocky Horror Picture Show” fame.

Tweeted on May 8 at 2.09 a.m.: So, come up to the lab,

Quickly followed at 2.09 a.m. by: and see what's on the slab!

And at 2.10 a.m.: I see you shiver with antici ...

For those of you fans, you know what comes next, right? Of course, it’s:

 ... pation.

And you’d be correct. The tweet reveal followed on May 8 at 12.24 a.m., but wait --was there a time stamp error? How could the fourth tweet in the sequence precede the first three? Perhaps I should have mentioned that the first three were made on May 8, 2009, whereas the fourth was May 8, 2014!

A tweet five years in the making, epitomizing the very antici…pation that lovers of this cult classic (yours truly included) appreciated so much.

The reality is that it was most likely a 20-year-old twintern who set up this account five years ago and then promptly left the building. It then took the studio, distributors or producers of the movie five years to discover they had a Twitter account, realize they had unfinished business, and duly complete the iconic line.

But I prefer to take the romantic view that this was an experiment concocted in a corporate marketing lab, the likes of which would have made that old dog, Frank Furter as proud as the new papa of a little reanimated monster.

Actually, it was the brainchild of a fan.

So are you surprised it wasn’t the studio? Or that it was a fan? You shouldn’t be on either count. It is, after all, the zealot (the Z of Z.E.R.O.) whose rabid passion and rampant obsession powers this brand (or any other brand, for that matter) fortunate enough to have raving fans.

Why can’t marketers think and act the same way? Why does it take a fan to think so far into the future, with such a precise and calculated game plan that flies in the face of where the chasing pack is sniffing around these day, namely in the trough of real-time marketing?

We all covet the mythical lifetime value of the customer, but none have lived to witness this fabled beast in the flesh. I’d like to see more marketers taking a long-game approach to their brand-building efforts, but in order to do so, it’s going to take a village (hell, an entire metropolitan city) to shift expectations away from the instant gratification associated with marketing circa 2014.

Hope springs eternal, however, and although I won’t hold my breath, perhaps I’ll be proven wrong (or right) in 2019!

See you in five years!

Tags: marketing
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1 comment about "The Long Game".
  1. James Hering from The Richards Group , June 10, 2014 at 10:54 a.m.
    Joe - excellent article and example of thinking for the long haul. Those posts stayed true to the brand promise... of delivering an unexpected twist - even if it took five years to deliver the kicker. Keep bringing us great insights!