Not long ago one of my students used the phrase “Will it Play in Peoria?” during our classroom discussion. It’s been awhile since I’ve heard that statement, but every now and then it surfaces. For those of us who have a few miles under our belt (maybe traveling to Peoria!) you may remember that before marketing’s 4 P’s… before formal marketing strategies and advanced marketing technologies … “Will it Play in Peoria?” was a question with special meaning.
During the heyday of American vaudeville, the answer to that question determined whether a show would be a hit or a flop. The thinking was if it wasn’t acceptable to those in the heart of America’s heartland, there was no chance it would make it anywhere else in the country. If it didn’t receive a strong approval, one of two things usually happened: The production was rewritten, or it was canceled. With that, the phrase later became an association with an initial target area for testing new products, services, and even for gathering political viewpoints.
The September 2007 issue of INC. Magazine listed the 500 fastest-growing private companies in America. The Advertising & Marketing sector with 48 companies posted was second only to IT Services which totaled 55 companies. Total revenue of $1.14 billion was third highest trailing the Health sector’s $3.2 billion and Real Estate at $2.1 billion. All in all it’s encouraging to see the entrepreneurial enthusiasm associated with the marketing discipline.
The solutions offered by these companies span the marketing function and will certainly help invoke new future phrases/questions like:
Where specifically in Peoria does it play?
Why is it playing there?
When is it playing there?
Does it pay to play there?
I think you get my picture!