Your goal, as a marketer, is to achieve necessary luxury status.

What do I mean?

Broadly speaking, we can be commodities or luxuries in the sense of both price and rareness. A commodity is commonplace. A commodity is inexpensive. A luxury is not commonplace. A luxury is rare, and almost never cheap.

Broadly speaking, we can be optional or necessary. Necessary things are things we can’t do without. We need them. They’re mandatory for us to get our jobs done. Optional things are nice-to-haves. They’re additions that are welcome, but if we didn’t have them, we’d be okay.

What determines something to be a commodity or a luxury is its functional quality. The better it does at the core tasks asked of it, the higher a price it can command while still being needed.

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Think about getting to work. You have to get to work somehow, and for a majority of people, that involves some form of transportation. A car is a commodity. You can buy cars of all makes and models. A Tesla Series S is a luxury that’s optional. You need a car, but you don’t need THAT car, per se. That’s why the Tesla on the chart above is an optional luxury. Its luxury doesn’t improve the core functional quality of being a way to get to work. You get there in more style and with more amenities, but it doesn’t change the core experience.

What about computers? Many people who work in offices need a portable computer of some kind. You can get cheap knockoff laptops or vastly underpowered machines very inexpensively. They’re commodities. If you want great functional quality, a MacBook Pro starts moving you towards the luxury end of the spectrum. However, if you need built-in UNIX compatibility in an easy to use, well-built machine, then you remain more towards the necessary end of the spectrum. These needs transform the MacBook Pro into a necessary luxury.

As a marketer seeking a career in marketing, you begin ineptly. We all do. We begin with very few polished skills, and we don’t perform especially well out of the gate (except for a few savants). We are low performing marketers when we begin our journey. Some of us stay there. Most of us achieve some level of competence, which moves us from optional to necessary.

Your goal, as a marketer, is to advance your skills and capabilities, your functional quality, until you are necessary. As you become necessary, you can command a higher price, until you reach the pinnacle of your career. At the top of your game, you become a high performing marketer, which is a necessary luxury that every company wants, needs, and is willing to pay top dollar for.

Your challenge, as a marketer, is to identify what is necessary and become so proficient at it that you are rare. When you become this, the world is your oyster.


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