Edgar Allen Poe celebrated his birthday (posthumously, I believe) this week – on January 20th to be exact. And while high school English teachers everywhere begged their bored students to appreciate the subtle terror of The Raven, someone was busy alienating their target audience…
Edgar Allen Poe was buried in Baltimore, Maryland beside his mother in law and his wife. Since 1949 a mysterious (and quite devoted) Edgar Allen Poe fan has been leaving three roses (said to represent the three underneath) and half a bottle of cognac at Poe’s grave. Known as the Poe Toaster, this quizzical character has drawn fans from all over the nation – who camp out overnight with hopes of eyeing Edgar Allan Poe’s post mortem drinking buddy.
This year, the Poe Toaster failed to show, leaving beloved devotees confused and angry. The curator of the cemetery where Poe and family are laid to rest explained, “I was very annoyed…Everyone was very sad.” You see, the Poe Toaster made one very fundamental business mistake – he/she violated what their audience was expecting – thereby displacing trust and creating confusion.
This is not to say that your marketing strategy remain static – quite the opposite! But think of it this way – If Martha Stewart suddenly started giving relationship advice, or Coca Cola stopped making soft drinks, I’d be nervous. Don’t let your business model confuse your audience by throwing new products and services at them every other week. Maintain a healthy level of consistency and your results will be fruitful.
As for the Poe Toaster, let’s hope he’s not locked up in a wine cellar.