The Pass of Thermopylae

September 30, 2011  |   Advertising and Marketing   |     |   0 Comment

Another classic short story about advertising from The Clock that Had no Hands And Nineteen Other Essays About Advertising By Herbert Kaufman

Xerxes once led a million soldiers out of Persia in an effort to capture Greece, but his invasion failed utterly, because a Spartan captain had entrenched a hundred men in a narrow mountain pass, which controlled the road into Lacedaemon. The man who was first on the ground had the advantage.

Advertising is full of opportunities for men who are first on the ground.

There are hundreds of advertising passes waiting for some one to occupy them. The first man who realizes that his line will be helped by publicity, has a tremendous opportunity. He can gain an advantage over his competitors that they can never possess. Those who follow him must spend more money to equal his returns. They must not only invest as much, to get as much, but they must as well, spend an extra sum to counteract the influence that he has already established in the community.

Whatever men sell, whether it is actual merchandise or brain vibrations, can be more easily sold with the aid of advertising. Not one half of the businesses which should be exploited are appearing in the newspapers. Trade grows as reputation grows and advertising spreads reputation.

If you are engaged in a line which is waiting for an advertising pioneer, realize what a wonderful chance you have of being the first of your kind to appeal directly to the public. You stand a better chance of leadership than those who have handicapped their strength, by permitting you to get on the ground before they could outstrip you. You gain a prestige that those who follow you, must spend more money to counteract.

If your particular line is similar to some other trade or business which has already been introduced to the reading public, it’s up to you to start in right now and join your competitors in contesting for the attention of the community. The longer you delay the more you decrease your chances of surviving. Every man who outstrips you is another opponent, who must be met and grappled with, for the right of way.

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