If We Can Put A Man On The Moon…

Posted by on August 21, 2013

A Monday Morning Memo from The Wizard of Ads

Did you ever notice that a package of wieners has ten, but a package of hot dog buns has only eight? If we can put a man on the moon, it seems like we should be able to put the same number of buns as wieners in a package.

Perhaps the bun makers do this on purpose, assuming we’ll buy a second package of buns. Or maybe it’s a gigantic conspiracy with the wiener people, since it takes four packages of wieners and five packages of buns to make the thing come out even. Most likely though, they put eight buns in a package because that’s the way it has always been.

A few years ago, someone said, “If we can put a man on the moon we ought to be able to make a car key that will fit both ignition and door.” So why does General Motors still give us two keys? Probably because that’s the way it has always been.

Good marketing speaks to the customer’s need. If I were consulting a bun manufacturer, I’d tell him to put ten buns in a package and advertise, “A Bun For Every Wiener.” I’m convinced customers would gladly pay more for a package of ten buns, because ten buns are what the customer wants. I’d tell GM to launch a program which would create for each family a single key which could be used to drive any of the GM cars in their household. That would be quite an incentive for sticking with GM cars, wouldn’t it?

When you do a thing “the way it has always been,” you are instinctively obeying unwritten rules. Let me encourage you to stretch beyond those imaginary boundaries. Defy conventional wisdom. Ask of everything, “Why?” and when you have a new idea, ask, “Why not?”

Progress happens only when someone breaks an unwritten rule.

The problem with the phrase, “If we can put a man on the moon,” is that “we” did no such thing. The team responsible for putting a man on the moon shared a vision, a direction, and a plan. They never stopped to consider, “the way it has always been.”

Does your company have a vision, a direction, and a plan? If you do not, I fear you will soon find “the way it has always been,” is simply not good enough anymore.

Roy H. Williams

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