In his famous work “For I will consider my Cat Geoffery,” the 16th century poet Christopher Smart contemplates his cat and expresses what he learns using a series of short statements like the following:
For he is the quickest to his mark of any creature.
For he is tenacious of his point.
For he is a mixture of gravity and waggery.
For there is nothing sweeter than his peace when at rest.
For there is nothing brisker than his life when in motion.
If his cat taught the poet anything, it was that cats are divine creatures with a power over people that we cannot fully articulate but also can’t fully deny. And if the internet has taught us anything, as 21st century digital marketing types, it’s that people will watch cats do almost anything, over and over again. For hours at a time. Unapologetically.
In the digital marketing world, the commodity we compete for is attention. And cats have it. Once again, they’ve proven themselves vastly superior to us, and they don’t even seem to be trying, those smug little jerks. But we can still win this if we can figure out what it is about them that makes them so mesmerizing. Is it their guile, or their lack of guile? Is it their wild swing from obsessive dignity to no dignity at all? Or is it something else?
My latest conclusion about cats and their overwhelming success as digital marketers is as follows: We don’t expect them to fall off of things. So when they fall off of things, it comes as a surprise every single time. We’re surprised, but consistently so. People love that kind of surprise.
Cats mess with our expectations in the most delightful way. They deliver on the promise of not delivering on any promises. Plus, they’re really cute.
If you figure out a way to master those tendencies and apply them to your digital marketing efforts, please invite me to your seminar.