What you’re really selling

There is probably a scene in Mad Men in which a business executive is pitched by the ad creative on the positioning of an automotive product: “You’re not selling a car, you’re selling freedom!” Or something to that effect, it may have been a kitchen appliance. In the ’60s the pitch would have been the same.

Today, the general view is that distance-facilitating offerings will best succeed and gain in value. Predicated on the current state of remote locationing for everyone, products related to remote learning, remote work, remote medicine, remote entertainment, remote storage, remote provisioning, and so on, are in vogue, and the generally accepted principle is that the common thread for successful products is distance and remoteness.

That is the car, in any case. What’s being sold is something different and much broader, I believe. “You’re not selling cloud, you’re not selling virtualization, you’re not selling streaming, you’re not selling group messaging… you’re selling security, you’re selling caution, you’re selling defense.”

If the era at one time was about revolution and breaking boundaries, today it may be shifting to conservation and retreat. At least, these are the early signs. Voices as diversely confident as Soros, Druckenmiller, and Buffett, are expressing a lack of confidence. Markets are all over the place, as are the governing authorities. Opinions change from one day to the next, with greater or lesser assertiveness. In such an era, consumption is not unlikely to go in the direction of safety and trust.

Sometimes, this notion manifests itself in ways that are not Zoom or Netflix.