Swarf – Find Your Own Goat

For my 65th birthday on December 16th my daughter gave me a goat. When she told me about the gift I figured it was an effort to expiate the curse of the billy goat on my cherished Chicago Cubs. But no, this was an animal with an even better purpose.

For my Medicare birthday Sarah purchased a goat in my name from the WorldVision charity, which I’m told ended up in a small farm in Ecuador where it will provide milk for a family. The gift gave me pleasure, not only because it ended up in South America and not dropping dung on my patio and eating the hostas in the garden. It also gave me an insight into marketing to a jaded world, inundated with muddy media messages.

My daughter, a sophisticated and frugal person, put out $120 for a charity gift and photo of a cuddly goat presented to a milk deprived family in Ecuador. The goat sold her. The WorldVision Catalog would have ended up in the recycling bin along with a dozen other worthwhile charitable pitches, except for the hairy can eater on the cover of the brochure.

From a business standpoint the message is “sell the goat not the widget.” Your company and your product need a story and an image. I’m not talking about a building photo or a promise of precision.

Everybody has a building and if you can’t produce quality you would have been washed out two recessions ago. You need buzz, or at least a baa and your own credible goat to separate you from the herd. The competition wants to sell stuff. The buyer wants an authentic story.

Find your own goat.

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