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Chapter 3: The Five Kings of Internet Information Marketing
If you examine history, you will find few examples of kings who shared a crown. Charlemagne shared France with his brother for a year or two, but the brother died under mysterious circumstances. In ancient Rome, Crassus and Pompey ruled the empire along with Julius Caesar until Caesar started a war and put an end to the arrangement. Sharing power just isn't something kings like to do.
You may be skeptical, then, when we tell you about a kingdom that has five kings. The Five Kings of this kingdom have ruled together for many years, and they don't plot against each other or build up separate armies. In fact, the kings only have a kingdom to rule because they work together.
Who are the Five Kings? Their names are King Salutation, King Presentation, King Consummation, King Perseverance, and King Enticement. Their kingdom is surrounded on all sides by an enormous wilderness in which other kingdoms are constantly rising and falling. The wilderness is filled with wanderers, each of whom is on a different quest. Those wanderers are the reason for the kingdom's survival. Each time a wanderer enters the kingdom and completes a quest, he or she leaves behind a few gold coins. The more people visit the kingdom, the richer the kingdom becomes.
So, to maintain their kingdom, the Five Kings must guide wanderers into the land and guide them through to the completion of their quests. In this effort, each king has a specific job to do. If one of them ignores his duty, or tries to do another king's work instead of his own, he jeopardizes the future of the entire kingdom. On the other hand, when the Five Kings join forces and coordinate their efforts, their treasure chests overflow with gold and jewels. Let's take a closer look at these Five Kings and how they work together.
King Salutation is in charge of welcoming visitors in from the wilderness. He and his knights stand at the gates on the border of the kingdom, greeting everyone who approaches. People come to the kingdom in many ways, and from many directions, and King Salutation must give an appropriate greeting to each one. He must be able to recognize what each visitor is looking for, and he must say the right things to bring the visitor through the gates.
King Salutation has a genius for making people feel comfortable, which aids him in his work. He does not frighten people away by asking too many questions or by trying to rush them inside. He gives each visitor a warm welcome, introduces himself, and describes his kingdom with a few choice words. He does not force his visitors to listen to the entire history of the kingdom, nor does he burden them with unnecessary details. He knows that many of his visitors have doubts and questions, and he offers them answers and encouragement.
The king recognizes that each wanderer who comes to the gate is on a quest and is anxious to complete it. Most visitors come to the kingdom because they were sent by another king, King Enticement, but some have arrived by accident. King Salutation describes his kingdom accurately to everyone, so that visitors who are on a different quest can be on their way without wasting time.
If a visitor's quest can be completed within the kingdom, King Salutation invites the visitor to pass beyond the border. To encourage his visitors, King Salutation offers each one a small gift and asks only for the visitor's name in return.
King Presentation is the kingdom's official tour guide. He specializes in convincing visitors that their quests can be completed within the kingdom. When a visitor gives his name to King Salutation and passes through the gates, King Presentation is there on the other side, ready to lead the visitor through the kingdom.
King Presentation is a masterful speaker. He captures the imagination of his visitors and opens their eyes to the wonders of his kingdom. He knows, as do all the kings, that his visitors are searching for something. However, some of these wanderers don't know exactly what they're looking for. King Presentation knows how to point these uncertain travelers in the right direction. They can wander in the wilderness for years, he tells them, or they can achieve their goals right here in the kingdom.
Many visitors, when they arrive in the kingdom, are afraid that they'll leave their gold behind and still have to continue on their quests. King Presentation helps them overcome their fears by repeating the stories of wanderers who came before them and of the quests that have been completed within the kingdom.
This king knows how to get the attention of a sleepy wanderer, and he knows how to make complicated ideas appear simple. When a visitor seems to lack motivation, the king spurs him or her to action with additional small gifts and eloquent speeches.
After King Presentation has energized and inspired the kingdom's visitors, King Consummation tells the visitors what they must do next. He overcomes any final fears or objections the visitors might have, and he shows them how to exchange their gold for the objects they seek.
Of the Five Kings, King Consummation is the least visible. He stays close to the special places in the kingdom where quests can be completed. He does not make his presence known to the general public, and he prefers to meet with wanderers only after they have met with King Salutation and King Presentation.
It doesn't always work out that way, however. Some visitors to the kingdom don't want to take the time to meet with King Presentation, so they rush past him and seek out King Consummation instead. Some of these visitors scale the walls of the kingdom, passing up King Salutation as well. They do this for one of two reasons. Either they know exactly what they want and can't wait to get it, or they want to find out if the completion of their quests will require too much of them.
In either case, King Consummation must be prepared. He helps the eager travelers as quickly as possible, guiding them through before they lose heart. He deals gently with the nervous ones, hoping to reassure them that they will gain more than they give up.
No matter how visitors come to King Consummation, his job is the same: to provide all the information the visitors need before they take the final steps of their journeys. Even though the visitors have traveled a long way already, many of them aren't certain that they want to continue. King Consummation knows that different people hesitate for different reasons, and his goal is to address every concern that a traveler might have. He uses many of the same techniques used by King Salutation and King Presentation, and he offers to protect visitors in the unlikely event that they are unhappy with the conclusion of their visits.
King Perseverance has the least glamorous job of the Five Kings, but he brings in as much wealth as the other four combined. He is the king responsible for maintaining a relationship with visitors who leave the kingdom before they complete their quests. This is more important than it might sound. Despite the best efforts of King Salutation, King Presentation, and King Consummation, most visitors leave the kingdom soon after they enter. If it were not for King Perseverance, those visitors would be lost to the kingdom forever.
King Salutation, as you now know, asks each visitor to leave his or her name before entering the kingdom. This is not a matter of security. King Salutation collects those names so that King Perseverance can do his job.
With the list of names he gets from King Salutation, King Perseverance and his knights are able to follow visitors through the wilderness and encourage them to return to the kingdom. Some of those visitors return as soon as they are asked, and others are slow to respond. King Perseverance knows how to be persistent without being a nuisance, and he often contacts wanderers seven times or more before he succeeds in convincing them to take another visit to the kingdom.
With so many wanderers to follow, and so many messages to deliver, King Perseverance needs more assistance than the other kings. He employs a special army of couriers, who deliver messages to wanderers in every part of the wilderness. These messages are delivered frequently, sometimes once a day. The travelers who receive them feel as though they are communicating with the king himself, and many of them decide to return to the kingdom to complete their quest.
King Enticement rules from afar. In fact, he never sets foot on his own land. He spends his time in the surrounding wilderness, asking strangers to journey to his kingdom. That might sound easy at first because the wilderness is full of people, but King Enticement does more than just sit on his horse and shout at everyone who passes by. He might send more visitors to the kingdom that way, but most of those visitors would do more harm than good. They'd consume resources, block up the roads, and contribute nothing in return. The king is looking for specific types of visitors, and to find them, he has to know the places where those people are likely to be.
In a way, King Enticement has the most difficult job of all, but he has one thing working in his favor: many people in the wilderness are looking for him at the same time. No one in the wilderness stays in one place for long, and everyone out there is looking for something. King Enticement's kingdom is where the lucky ones can complete their quests. They don't know about the kingdom, though, so they wander through the forests, deserts, and swamps, looking for someone to show them the way.
The king has plenty of help out there in the wilderness. In addition to his own knights, he hires agents and ambassadors. His agents search the more remote areas of the wilderness, searching for wanderers the King himself would not be able to reach. His ambassadors travel to faraway kingdoms and send the people from those kingdoms to visit King Salutation, King Presentation, and the rest, in return for a few pieces of silver.
How You Can Become a King of the Internet
The story of the Five Kings is not a fairy tale. As you've probably guessed, it's a parable about marketing on the Internet. The Five Kings' kingdom is actually a website, and the surrounding wilderness is the rest of the Internet. Every wanderer who passes through the kingdom on a quest is a potential customer. The Five Kings, who guide wanderers in from the wilderness and through the kingdom to the completion of their quests, represent the five steps of the marketing process.