June 17, 2004

Forbes.com: EBay Makes A Savvy Marketing Platform For HP

Thinking about this made me realize how deeply eBay as lodged itself into the collective unconscious. Long time ago eBay was a simple place for simple folks to sell their Pez collections. Now it is a vast “shadow” economy that runs in parallel to the real economy. Unlike Google, which is a powerful tool, eBay is now a powerful “place”. A virtual place, but a place nonetheless.

Whenever I interview job candidates there are always a few standard questions I use. One of them is to tell me about the “best” and the “worst” marketing they have every personally experienced. I allow them to define marketing as they see fit. Most people equate marketing with branding or advertising, though some are able to see through to the deeper levels of marketing available. Interviewing a person recently she responded “Vespa” to the best marketing question.

Well, Vespa is not at the top of my cultural hot list, but she was a different demographic than me. Having just bought a Vespa she was eager to go on about the experience, how the company differentiated itself in the market, and what the brand meant. It was a pretty good answer to the question. But, have I gotten so out of touch with the market that Vespa scooters are hot and I don’t know it?

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