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The World’s Only Flying Elephant


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The story of Dumbo is one we are all familiar with. It is the story of a baby elephant with humongous ears. Dumbo redefines what it means to be an elephant. It is in his tale that marketers can find inspiration and guidance to be more entrepreneurial.

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The World’s Only Flying Elephant

  1. 1. Rachel Jacob EEE 382 M. Schindehutte February 26, 2009 The World’s Only Flying Elephant The story of Dumbo is one we are all familiar with. It is the story of a baby elephant with humongous ears. Dumbo redefines what it means to be an elephant. It is in his tale that marketers can find inspiration and guidance to be more entrepreneurial. Let’s start out with the infamous naysayers and traditionalists. The crows and other elephants represent the old approach to marketing. Traditionally, marketing revolves around the 4 P’s and the moving of the customer through the buying process. The 4 P’s have changed to the 4 C’s (Schindehutte): • From Product to Co-Created solutions/experiences • From Promotion to communication within the communities • From Price to customizable personal value • From Place to choice and convenience The crows and the other elephants are also representative of the customary role of marketing in a company. Where marketing was simply cut and paste and did not really impact the other company departments. Entrepreneurial marketing touches and influences every single part of the company. Just as Dumbo redefined what ears could be used for, so the entrepreneurial marketer defines the new role of marketing within a company. The issue marketers and companies are now facing is how to get ahead and differentiate one’s self from the competition. The goal of entrepreneurial marketing “means thinking of your company, your technology, your product in a fresh way, a ways that begins by defining what you can lead” (McKenna 5). Dumbo distinguished himself from the other elephants using his ears as wings. He mixed things up. Like Dumbo, it is imperative that the entrepreneurial marketers to not simply follow the rules, but instead they must “push harder, change the rules as they go” (Godin). Cirque du Soliel reinvented the traditional circus by invigorating all the senses and taking its spectators to another world. Dumbo was able to reinvent what it meant to be an elephant. He proved elephants don’t have to walk everywhere; they can fly.
  2. 2. “Instead of trying to outspend the opposition in head on competition, the weaker company out-thinks the competitor by crafting a value proposition that hits a sweet spot for a specific target market in a focused, high impact marketing effort” (Schindehuette 10-11). Dumbo’s value proposition was that he could fly. Because of his unique value proposition, Dumbo was able to create his own curve that the rest of the elephants couldn’t touch. Okay, maybe the curve was more of an upward spiral. “Use a strong sensual or emotional experience for your consumers, which will tap powerfully into one or more of their sense, or will evoke a strong emotional response, such as fear, thrill, excitement, ecstasy, surprise or any other powerful emotion” (Herman). When it came time for Dumbo to perform he shocked the circus spectators and turned their world upside down. Dumbo was only able to accomplish his feat when his heart and mind were working in symphony. His logical side was saying flying was impossible, but his right brain -his heart, was telling him it was possible. In Daniel Pink’s book, A Whole New Mind, “the melding of information with the trends in today’s global economy, and the resulting revolutionary idea that successful business leaders need to flex the right sides of their brains and to manage with a whole-brained approach” (Sittner 9). However, Dumbo might have never attempted his flying feat if it weren’t for his friend Timothy the Mouse. Timothy was Dumbo’s co-creator and biggest supporter. It is important to surround yourself with people who believe in you and help you gain new perspective and insight. The Cadbury Chocolate Fashion show is testament that collaboration and belief is one of the largest purveyors of success. “We continue to be amazed by the incredible imagination invested in the development of the Cadbury Couture Collection and the boundless appeal of chocolate and cutting-edge design” (Canadian Business Online). Unilever (Dove) greatly benefited from their relationship between the agency and client team. They decided to toss the approach of client/agent separation. In creating a partnership, entrepreneurial marketers can create “strong sense of dynamic energy from start to finish” (McGregor 3). As they say, two heads are better than one. Elephants in general are very social creatures with extremely tight knit communities. The elephant herd is representative of the user communities, which are
  3. 3. becoming increasingly popular due to technological advancements. An entrepreneurial marketer is “active and engaged in their user community as innovative users play such a vital part in R&D through comments, suggestions and feedback” (NESTA). Clearly we can learn a lot from little Dumbo and elephant behavior in general. You may be little but you can still pack a punch and compete with the biggest of pachyderms. Bibliography Cirque du Soleil. Cirque du Soliel Online. 21 Feb 2009. <>. Godin, Seth. “Pushing Through the dip.” Seth Godin Homepage. 20 Jan 2008. <>. Herman, Dan. “Marketing Reinvented-Electrifying is the New Satisfying.” Article Base Online. 10 Mar 2008. 17 Feb 2009. < electricfying-is-the-new-satisfying-355705.html>. McGreggor, Lyn and James Potocki. “Hide and Seek.” The World Association of Research Professionals. 2005. McKenna, Regis. “Marketing is Everything.” Harvard Business Review. Jan/Feb 1991: 2-10. National Endowment for Science, Techology and the Arts. The New Inventors: How users are changing the rules of innovation. July 2008. 25 Jan 2009. <>. Schundehutte, Minet. “The Rules Have Changed: The Emergence of Entrepreneurial Marketing” Rethinking Entrepreneurial Marketing. 2008. --. “Chapter 10: The Red Queen.” Rethinking Entrepreneurial Marketing. 2008. Sittner, Sharon. “A Whole New Mind.” Business Book Review. 17 (2005): 1-10. “The 2008 Cadbury Chocolate Corture Fashion Show: A World of Chocolate.” Canadian Business Online. 6 Nov 2008. 20 Jan 2009. <>.
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