“If I want it, you’re late.” – A Marketing Lesson from My Cat

November 30, 2012

My finicky cat teaches me a lesson in marketing.  I have had many cats in my life, and have learned to interpret their unspoken (and “spoken”) language pretty well.  My wife gets a laugh our of my verbalization of what the cats are thinking, and I’m honest about it – the cats supply the material via their sounds and body language and I just express it in words.  Every morning my wife gets up and gives the cats some canned food, and it’s an “important ritual”, especially for our nervous Persian cat Chloe.  At 6:30AM Chloe paces the floor and bed impatiently, walking on us, bumping us with her head and sometimes poking my wife’s sleeping face with a fluffy paw.  (Remember: Dogs have owners but cats have staff!)  As we arise Chloe alternately sits in the bedroom doorway and paces up and down the hall, waiting for that expected move toward the kitchen where the food is.  Looking at this cat haughtily surveying us from the doorway, I said to my wife the first words I could think of that expressed the cat’s thoughts: “If I want it, you’re late“.  My wife burst out laughing, but I instantly realized that this illustrates a key principle of successful marketing.   Read the rest of this entry »


The Cost/Benefit Ratio and the Acquisition of Information

April 2, 2008

Cost-Benefit Ratio of Information


One of the most frequent and frustrating occurrences I see among corporate managers is the failure to understand the cost-benefit ratio of information.  This is the idea that it costs a certain amount to obtain each bit of information, and that cost rises as you approach 100% of the information you might need (or think you need) while the value of each bit of information falls.  To relate it to the Pareto principle, in almost any situation you can get 80% of the information for 20% of the cost, but the other 20% of the information will cost you four times as much.  This is perhaps a bit of an overstatement, but illustrates the concept.  Read the rest of this entry »