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Invert that Pyramid

John Federico

Hugh MacLeod has been talking about Pyramids, specifically, what he calls the Brand Pyramid.

I agree with his assertion that each element "informs and nourishes the other", except I think that what he refers to as his Brand Pyramid is what is traditionally known in marketing as the Product Mix coupled with the good ol' Sales Funnel used in traditional business-to-business marketing.

The Product Mix Matrix

Essentially, when creating a Product Mix, you're doing nothing but playing with equations involving:

  • Target Customer

  • Cost of goods sold (in Hugh's case, his time)

  • Cost of Distribution (shipping, etc.)

  • Cost of Marketing (in Hugh's case, his blog)

  • Necessary Profit Margin

  • Pricing that the market will bear


Then, you would fill your Product Mix Matrix with increasingly priced items with appropriate value based on your target customer's needs/wants/desires. (This infographic from Paul Nixon is a good example of product mix. Yes, it outlines physical products, but the concept is solid.)

So, in Hugh's case, his Product Mix Matrix might look this:



Where's the first item in his original list ("reading the stuff on gapingvoid for free")? It's not a product: it's marketing. That's the top of his sales funnel, which might look like this:



It's the start of his lead generation. Each item leads someone closer and closer to a sale or consulting engagement. I don't know what the question marks represent - only Hugh knows what the steps of his sales process look like.

Now, the question becomes, does all of this support his brand? Yes, I think. Of course, that depends on how he might define it. I might quickly describe Hugh's brand (in no priority) as:

  • Intelligent

  • Thoughtful

  • Honest

  • Irreverent

  • Slightly Quirky

  • Poignant

  • Creative

I'd have to give it some additional thought, but I think Hugh might agree with my assessment. Of course, I'll leave it to him to fully explain what he's trying to accomplish with his brand.