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On a recent trip to Florida I met up with a cousin of mine that I hadn’t seen in nearly 40 years.

He’s a retired physician with an inquiring mind and he shared with me an unsettling observation.  Watching coverage of the tragedy in Haiti, he recognized that people got more and more desperate as it passed the 3 day mark following the event.

The human body can go without food for quite some time before it really breaks down.  But without water, it’s only a matter of 72 hours and brain function is significantly affected.

“9 meals”, he said, “that’s all that separates us from our daily lives and a complete breakdown of society.”

Hours later, while working on a marketing blueprint, I thought about my cousin’s “9 meals” anecdote.  Our bodies need to be sustained with a continuous supply of H2O for survival.  We need food for sure, but in terms of our hierarchy of needs, water is king.

What’s your client’s hierarchy of needs?  What’s the one thing that your customers can’t live without?

Price?  Service?  The hottest technology?  Relationship chemistry?

Now think about it in terms of a marketing campaign.

What’s the one thing you need to monitor to know if you’re on the right track?  It’s different for everyone.

Regardless, it’s a fine line between survival and extinction.  Be sure you know where it is.