Imagine if wasps flew around in little pea coats, striped pants and tiny top hats instead of going around stinging people. Wasp marketing could be the new thing—they’d just fly around whispering Internet marketing tips in people’s ears and the world would be blessed with great websites and optimized content.
Unfortunately, wasps are too busy being eaten by humans in the form of delicious figs and turning cockroaches into zombies to get that far. If they could put that all of that behind them, here are a few reasons why wasps would be better off packing it in and and getting their Marketing MBA.
The Fig Wasp
Did you know that when you eat a fig, the crunchy bits inside are likely dead wasps? No there aren’t tarantulas in your bananas and you probably don’t swallow several spiders every night when you sleep, but yes, there are wasps in every fig you eat.
In fact, figs are technically a flower, and require a wasp to pollinate in order to live. In return, the fig provides food and shelter for the momma wasps and their babies.
Here’s where it gets gross: When the momma wasp lays her eggs inside of the fig, the route is too narrow and her wings and antennae get ripped off. From this point, she can’t get out.
If she’s landed in a male fig, then all of her male babies will hatch, dig tunnels for the girls to get out, and the males will die inside. It’s not a great thing to be a male fig wasp.
If she’s landed in a female fig however, this long thing called the stylus will prevent her from laying her eggs, and she’ll just end up dying from starvation, exhaustion, or maybe just loneliness.
That said, who wants to eat a fig now? Sure the figs enzymes will break up the carcass and turn it into protein, but it still makes you reconsider that package of Fig Newtons, now doesn’t it?
Why Fig Wasps Would Make Excellent Internet Marketers
Let’s just relate this to planting a seed and the long-tail approach shall we? As Internet Marketers, we know that we’re not going to catch someone every time they enter our website. Ideally, of course. However, it doesn’t make us a bad marketer just because someone hit the back button. We’re not always what they’re looking for.
For example, when the momma fig wasp gets trapped in the female fig flower, she’s done for. She starves, she dies, and then we eat her. If she lands in a male fig, she lays her babies, they live, they grow, and they move on to pollinate other flowers.
Here’s the point: It’s kind of like an A/B split test. One of your tests has to outperform the other, and one of the tests will undoubtedly crash and burn. One might create 100 new buyers today, and the other may create zero. So you either made babies, or you got stuck in a fig with no wings or antennae.
At least wasps are brave enough to make that call. They have no idea if a fig will kill them or let them lay eggs, but they burrow inside anyway. The payoff perhaps is that as wasps evolve, maybe they’ll eventually be able to tell the difference between male and female figs and live a little longer.
If we as Internet Marketers test our buttons, layouts, copy and headlines, we too discover what element of a page is creating the most value, and which ones can be replaced to ensure more productive websites.
The Emerald Cockroach Wasp
This wasp is something out of a horror movie. The wasp stings a cockroach, not paralyzing it, but somewhat giving it a lobotomy so that it does whatever the wasp wants it to. Then, the crafty momma wasp leads the cockroach back to the wasp den. Like a good, obedient, zombified cockroach, it does as its told by momma wasp—even letting her lay an egg inside of it.
But it gets better… The baby wasp needs something to feed on, so the cockroach needs to stay alive during the entire laying, hatching and growing process so that the wasp baby can eat it for nutrients. The cockroach finally dies five weeks later when the baby busts out, fat and happy.
You don’t have to step on a wasp nest to be turned off by these little manipulative winged creatures now, but dang do they make great Internet Marketers and here’s why.
These wasps in particular know how to “get in the minds and bodies” of those they are trying to influence.
If they were marketers, they’d be creating content (babies) that their users (zombified cockroaches) were already looking for. What if the cockroach really wanted a little baby planted in its brain? I mean, heck, they can live up to 10 years depending on the species, and who wants to live on garbage and with angry humans for 10 years anyway?
Here’s the point: Wasps don’t just kill the cockroach and turn its body into a womb, just like we don’t just throw out advertisements and care less about what our ROI is.
The wasp takes careful approach in convincing the cockroach that what they really want is to go into a cave and sacrifice their life for a wasp baby.
As Internet Marketers, it’s our job to convince people that what they really want is our product. Our venom is search engine optimization. We take a careful approach in researching keywords for our sites and blog posts.
We try to write things that people are already searching for. When results come up in Google, they don’t know that we’ve specifically targeted them, but if we’ve done a good job—we’re answering their question. If we’ve done an even better job, we’re collecting an email address for further communication or writing a crafty up-sell into a paid product.
I wouldn’t call our customers and readers zombies, but the majority of Internet searchers are just typing into a search engine however they think they will find a result. By “getting into the minds and bodies” of our customers by doing a little research first, we’re more likely to do like a wasp and get them into a cave to have our babies.
Or rather, to our website and into a position to buy a product.