I’ve been thinking about marketing. I’m not a very good salesman. In fact, I’m terrible. So I sat down with a friend who has been attending business workshops to pick at his brain. And he shared with me this gem: “Business is about finding a need and meeting it.”
Then he asked me, “What do people need that you can provide? What does Parabolis offer?”
I didn’t have an answer. I thought to myself, “It’s not a cure for cancer. It’s just a book.”
It made me wonder what exactly other products were offering. What do various successful marketing campaigns promise in their brand that wins its loyal customer base? Identity? Sex? Salvation? At the end of the day, aren’t they all just selling snake oil? I mean, shoes are just shoes and cars are just cars, right? Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe it really is more than just that. Sure, it’s not eternal life, but you can look preoccupied browsing 9gag on your iphone when you’re in a room full of people you don’t know. You thought it was just a smartphone, but really, it doubles as a tool to mitigate socially awkward situations. And that’s “value-added,” isn’t it? What about that extra rep you were able to do because of your new inov-8’s that you couldn’t do in your old gym shoes? Was it really the shoes or how you felt in them because of a carefully crafted brand? And what if that hipster chick wants to go home with you just because she saw you being all ironic and drinking Pabst instead of a proper scotch like you should be?
Marketing seems to me an illusion attached to a product that becomes a reality in the hands of the consumer. The ultimate placebo effect. A self-fulfilling prophecy. Inception.
So what about Parabolis? What need does it promise to meet? Why should anyone spend money on it? What are we offering besides entertainment?
Parabolis is not a cure for cancer and depending on the scene, you’ll probably fare better with a Pabst in hand or a video game character tattoo. But the book is beautiful, the story is compelling–truth in both the art and the narrative. And that’s a need we can meet.