The Hubris of Geocentric Marketing


Copernicus was the arguably the father of modern day astronomy when he argued a heliocentrism over a geocentrism. In other words, the sun was the center of our system of planets, not the Earth. It was blasphemous and he was up against an entire culture of scholars that were intertwined with religion at the time. But he was correct.

Applied to Marketing, we have the issue today. For some reason, when companies get large, they begin to think that they are somehow the center of the our commerce system. Today, I received an email from Borders on Borders Rewards Perks – a new program to introduce Borders to other companies that they may wish to shop with:

Borders Rewards

I'm a Borders fan. Up until the Barnes and Noble was opened across the street, I frequented Borders almost every weekend. I like their stores, their live music, and their coffee. I often spent hours there relaxing and reading.

Borders seems to have adjusted their strategy on this one – perhaps trying to go head to head with Amazon. The difference is positioning, though. Amazon has always positioned itself as a retail and distribution giant hellbent on changing the way the world did business. Borders opened bookstores.

hubris: excessive pride or self-confidence; arrogance.

I truly believe that this is a mistake. The center of the commerce world isn't around your store, it's around your customer. If a customer sees you as a book store, continue to apply resources where they will reward you the most. This kind of thinking is dangerous and may well lose your company's focus and it's authority in the industry. If you want to be something else, go make something else!

I'm not going to buy a hotel room or suit through Borders! Rewards are inconsequential to me when you're trying to hammer me, a square, through a round hole.


  1. 1

    Great insight again Douglas. I think the same thing when I see people direct their content at a geographic region. It’s like getting up in front of the entire world with a microphone and only speaking to the first row.

    Blog globally, drink locally!

  2. 3
  3. 7

    “Kind of like McDonalds serving Lattes, unless they are burger flavored?lol”

    Hey, in Guatemala, McDonalds has “McCafe”. It is a seperate room added to McDonalds, and it is doing quitre well. People really like it. Starbucks cannot make it there 9too expensive, and Guatemala is where the good coffee originates).

    See my website for my replay to your title.

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