The Parable of the Spider

September 21st, 2008   •   6 comments   


I spotted the above spider making his home at the lift lobby just outside my home. The little guy has been there for weeks, and interestingly, no efforts have been made to clean up his silky home. I don’t really mind though as I have a thing for spiders.

In fact, there are some lessons that you can learn from them, which relates pretty well to the world of marketing.
1) Location, Location, LOCATION! The spider which chooses a heavily fly and mosquito infested spot gets to feast like a king! Similarly, businesses need to select the right place for their business bearing in mind that their “bait” (or customers) should be there too.

2) Being part of a web always helps. In this day of networks, the wider and more extensive your web of contacts are, the better the chances of winning some customers out there. Likewise for our arachnid buddy.

3) Aim to be sticky and not just pervasive. A spider’s web works incredibly well as an insect trapping tool because it isn’t only widespread (well, relatively speaking), but it also sticks like glue. In the same way, businesses should try to aim for marketing campaign ideas that are able to achieve not only good awareness, but good recall and stick-to-itiveness. Something like a positive meme.

4) Once you secure (err…trap) your customers, make them fall hopelessly into you. In the case of the spider, that would mean that its bait gets totally sucked dry (oops wrong analogy). What I truly mean is that you should pamper your customer, cocoon them and make them paralysed with pleasure as they indulge in your products and services.

5) Don’t be afraid to build, rebuild and rebuild again. A spider doesn’t hang around forever on the same web. Sooner or later, some smart-assed bird, cat, or human is going to destroy its tapestry of terror. When that happens, it will build its web again. Similarly, you shouldn’t be afraid to rubbish an old advertising idea when it gets too mouldy, and to embark on a fresh slate.

6) Do something good for society. In case you do not know, spiders are great to have around the house because they help to feed on mosquitoes, houseflies and other pests of the buzz-oriented kind. This helps to cut them some slack relative to other invertebrates – notice how much more quickly one would kill a mosquito compared to a web slinger (many people keep tarantulas as pets). Companies should also learn from the spider and exert a positive impact on its surrounding communities and environment. Donate to a neighbourhood charity, or encourage your staff to put in that bit of effort. Socially responsible behaviour helps you to endear yourself to more fans.

Next time you look at a spider, don’t just tick it off as a worthless vermin!

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  1. Benjamin Koe
    posted on Sep 21, 2008 at 2:43 PM

    Wow… that’s insightful. =) You’re becoming like Seth Godin, seeing marketing lessons in everyday life.

  2. posted on Sep 23, 2008 at 1:56 PM

    Ha ha ha … nice one. Personally I prefer lizards. I think they are more subtle in eating up all the pests.

  3. posted on Sep 25, 2008 at 2:43 PM

    i am glad I log on and check out your blog. This is awesome insights.

  4. posted on Sep 25, 2008 at 6:58 PM

    wow! cool insights for the coolinsider! thanks for sharing.

  5. peter
    posted on Sep 27, 2008 at 9:10 PM

    As a university student struggling with the study of Japanese language and culture I first became acquainted with the short stories of Akutagawa Ryûnosuke. Among his many stories I am particularly fond of “The Spider’s Thread.” My interest in it is twofold: as a reader, my intrigue lies in the story’s imagery and parable-like quality; on the other hand, as a translator this short and seemingly straightforward story has provided me with a number of interesting problems.

    internet marketing

  6. posted on Oct 13, 2008 at 4:54 PM

    wow…. gives new meaning to spin :)

    and i dun mean that in a bad way!

    i still remember moral education lessons about the spider whose web gets rained on and blown apart but still keeps going at it until the web is done. of course the primary textbook tells us the spider got to live in a swell home and neglected to show us what National Geographic dedicates hours on how spiders munch on their pray… still, we get the drift.

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