Marketing- A Fable

Today’s blog comes courtesy of Shari Storm, Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of Verity Federal Credit Union. Shari is the author of the new book ‘Motherhood is the New MBA”, available here.

Marketing – A Fable

Once upon a time, a long time ago, in a place far away, there was a small little village. The village had a prince, who was responsible for the village and villagers.

One day the tax assessor told the prince that the village needed more people to live there in order for the prince to pay for his next endeavor.

You see, the prince wanted to build a beautiful wall around the village so the villagers felt more secure. But that is beside the point.

The prince thought about it and wondered how he could get more people to move to their village so he could collect more taxes. Soon, he called upon a fair maiden and asked her if she had any ideas.

“Well,” she said brightly, “I could send the town crier over to the village West of ours and announce to those villagers how wonderful our village is. He could tell them to move here.”

“That is a tremendous idea. Do it.”

And so the maiden sent the town crier and he convinced several villagers to move to the prince’s village. Enough taxes were collected and the wall was built.

Soon after, the prince called for the maiden again. “I want to employ someone to pick up all the garbage. I am going to need more taxes. Will you send the town crier to the villages to the East and to the South of us and tell more people to move here?”

And so she did and so they did.

Soon after, the prince called the maiden and said, “I was recently at a jousting match and I saw that the village North of ours painted a big sign that says, ‘Move to our village.’ I would like a sign bigger than theirs to put up at the next jousting match.”

And so the maiden, with her can-do attitude, hired craftsman and painters and designed a bigger and better sign. More people moved to the village and more taxes were raised.

Soon after, the prince called for the maiden and said that he wanted to employ more dog catchers and he so he needed to collect more taxes.

Always eager to help, the maiden suggested, “Why don’t we raise taxes on milk and I will convince people to buy more milk?” The prince loved the idea and sent her on her way.

The maiden hired two other energetic villagers and they visited every house and gave every home a new challis as to encourage more milk consumption.

Some villagers bought more milk and some did not.

Soon, the prince called for the maiden.

“You have done many things to grow our village,” the prince said.

The maiden beamed with pride. The prince continued. “I would like a report on the ROI.”

The maiden looked confused, “The ROI?” she asked with hesitation.


“Yes, I know what it means, but… I…..I.”

The prince cut her off. “You’ve hired town criers, craftsman, painters, village visitors. You purchased boards and paints and all those chalices. How much revenue did it actually bring in?”

“But..,” the maiden stammered, “We’ve been growing,” she said weakly.

“First of all, we didn’t collect all the taxes we needed with your chalice project. We do not have enough money to hire dog catchers. And also, the growth we had before that, how do you know that is due to your efforts? Perhaps villagers moved here because of the great wall we built, or because of our garbage pick up system. How do you know it is because of the sign you hired people to paint?”

The maiden shrugged, not knowing what to say.

“Just as I thought,” said the prince sighed. “Off with her head.”*


*This is a purely fictional story. It bears no resemblance to any company in any industry that the author knows of.


Luckily, the prince didn’t really send the maiden to the guillotine. He just wanted to say that for effect. But the maiden did see the writing on the wall and decided to leave the village.

As she was walking over the bridge to the village across the river, the tower guard saw her coming and told the prince of that village. Before she reached the moat, the draw bridge came down and prince of the new village greeted her with open arms.

“I’ve been looking for someone to help me get people to move to this village,” he said and they all lived happily ever after.

The End.


7 thoughts on “Marketing- A Fable

  1. Shari, that was a great fable. I am happy your story did not include any mention of the evil village that is to the South by South West of your fable’s setting. Nobody wants to hear about their evil “Return on Villager (sm) measurement*.

    * Return on Villager or RoV is a service mark of Queen Martha and King Don of Ye Olde Peppers & Rogers Group.


  2. But I don’t understand – the maiden had received all kinds of awards and jewels for her signs and chalices and now you’re trying to tell me that those jewels don’t matter to the prince? If ROI is really that important, that is going to really reduce the number of “Platinum Looking Glass” awards given out by the AVA (All Villages Association) Maiden Network and CVMA (Consortium of Village Maidens Association). The world is changing before us!

  3. I have to admit that I had to read this a few times before I got it. I just couldn’t figure out who the prince and maiden were supposed to represent, and what the point of it was.

    But then it hit me — it isn’t about who’s IN the fable, it’s about who isn’t: The king and queen. I mean, really, where the hell is the king and queen of the village? And why did they leave the leadership of the village to this dopey prince?

    And that’s when I realized this fable is about credit union board of directors who aren’t appropriately involved with the direction of their CUs, and don’t ask the right questions.

    Glad I got that figured out. 🙂

  4. Pingback: CU Water Cooler » Blog Archive » CU Water Cooler 5/4

  5. Great fable. If you’d permit me…

    Epilog II – Passive Revenge

    As is the case so often, out of challenge comes opportunity. The maiden, living so happily in her new village, only felt goodness in her heart and decided to write a letter to her former prince.

    Dear Prince Humperdink,

    I am very happily living in my new village and have been fortunate to become involved with village management. I’m impressed with this village and felt the need to write you and share some of the programs we are doing in this village that have had such a positive impact. I hope this will demonstrate no ill will.

    If you recall, you questioned the effectiveness of my growth efforts. Did you ever consider the real problem being that of poor village management? For example, consider the villagers who avoid payment of taxes. What of those that were leaving your village while I brought so many in? What of the regional village tax being accessed by the Regional Village Association?

    I don’t bring this up by way of accusation but instead to make you a proposition. In my new role here, I have created an organization called Village Criers Service Organization (VCSO)
    We have created programs that we offer any and all villages. These include Villager Attrition Management, Villager Engagement, Villager Tax Collection, Village Management Consulting and more.

    The cost is minimal and only amounts to a small portion of taxes you collect monthly. We have worked with several local villages with very impressive results. I’d be very happy to provide references and ROI!

    Thanks and I look forward to hearing from you.


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