Silver Bullet Marketing


The Phrase Finder website defines “silver bullet” as “an action which cuts  through complexity and provides an immediate solution to a problem. The allusion is to a miraculous fix, otherwise portrayed as waving a magic wand.”

Throughout my marketing career, I’ve heard bosses, clients and colleagues reference their wish for a marketing plan that provides this miraculous fix to a business problem, with few or no resources to be expended.  The fix usually means increased sales, more consumers of the product and a whiz-bang attention-getting device that puts the brand on the map and guarantees it’s success for all time.

Unrealistic? Absolutely.  Still requested by the powers that be? Consistently.

The silver bullet solution is often euphemistically referred to as:

  • Let’s make a viral video
  • Get it to the Mommy-bloggers
  • We need as many likes on Facebook as ____________
  • Keep digging in the data–there has to be a “hard” fact
  • Hire an intern to do social media
  • Build it and they will come
  • Just get us on Oprah…in People Magazine…an article in The Wall Street Journal

Hope is not a strategy.  A miracle fix is not a reliable plan.  Capturing lightening in a bottle isn’t a concept the CFO will be able to explain on the investors’ call.

While we would all welcome the serendipity of a silver-bullet fix, we should probably get busy with some real-world strategizing behind the scenes. 

I ran across this cartoon that summarized the entire wishful/hopeful/silver bullet mindset.  If you’re not familiar with Tom Fishburne, click on this link to his Marketoonist website for more great insight into misunderstood marketing.

What’s your break-through strategy now that Oprah is in re-runs?

Cartoon © Tom Fishburne 2010    Thanks Tom for helping us laugh through gritted teeth on our  difficult days in business!

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