Marketing lessons from a 310-million-year-old fossil.
Scientists recently announced that they’ve discovered a fossilized horseshoe crab brain from 310 million years ago. This is especially remarkable because brains are soft tissue – there’s no bone to harden as there is with most fossils. As the New York Times reported, “Siderite, an iron carbonate mineral, accumulated rapidly around the dead creature’s body, forming a mold. With time, as the soft tissue decayed, a white-colored clay mineral called kaolinite filled the void left by the brain.”
Here’s the punchline: “While the horseshoe crabs look somewhat different on the outside, the internal brain architecture hadn’t really changed despite being separated by more than 300 million years.”
You guys know that I love analogies – but my own brain is overflowing right now. What an embarrassment of riches! Who or what can we compare to a horseshoe crab whose brain hasn’t evolved over 300 million years? The jokes just write themselves.
Seriously, though . . . what are you still doing the same way you did 310 million years ago? And how’s it working out for you? I know, I know . . . “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” But if you’re still doing it the same way you did it 310 million years ago, it probably is broke, even if you don’t realize it.
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At this point you may be saying, “but Ed . . . the horseshoe crab is still here and doing fine, even after 310 million years. If they don’t have to change, why should I?” Well, you don’t. But do you really want to live your life the same way as the crab did 310 million years ago?
Finally, ask yourself how this analogy might apply to your prospects and clients. They get stuck in 310-million-year-old thinking, too. Have you been trying to motivate them to do more? Let them see you doing more and explain why you’ve decided to evolve. Maybe your logic will penetrate their 310-million-year-old brains, too!
Here’s an inescapable conclusion behind every business – not just yours, and not even just tax and accounting businesses. If you can’t charge more for your service, you can’t spend more to get a buyer. That’s not rocket science – it’s just math. And that alone is a great reason to focus away from mom-and-pop 1040s, especially when robotic process automation is already starting to shrink fees in that market.
The Briefs is a weekly column on marketing and business planning for tax professionals and financial advisors looking to better serve clients and grow their business.
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