It seems counterintuitive to market to a small group of people when you could market to the masses, but unless you’re a well-established brand like Coca-Cola or Subaru, you’ll find it tough to build an audience fast enough to sustain you.
Fangirl alert: I’m obsessed with everything that Seth Godin writes. He just gets it, and he’s able to share his wisdom with such admirable brevity. I recently finished We Are All Weird: The Rise of Tribes and the End of Normal in 2 afternoon curl-up sessions. And I want to share a few key points with you that I got from the book.
Stop trying to market to everyone: pick a tribe
Not all hedge fund operators are the same, and neither are all rural peasants. Any system that treats them as homogeneous groups is taking away their ability to be individuals. Mass marketing had little choice but to do just that, because there wasn’t an effective way to reach just the few customers who might be interested. – Seth Godin, We Are All Weird: The Rise of Tribes and the End of Normal
Internet marketing allows us to better understand customers through data. This ability to picture an individual customer, or persona, helps you better write, develop products for, and market to specific groups of people. No more spray and pray.
Take the time and effort to get to know your customers through surveys, social media, in-person events, and comments on your blog. Ask for feedback. When people know you’re in service of them and their desires, they’re more likely to tell you what they want.
In We Are All Weird: The Rise of Tribes and the End of Normal, Godin doesn’t talk about weird in the sense that someone’s off-putting. He recognizes that most people aren’t normal, and that we’ve never really known what normal really means. Marketers made up normal in order to try to fit people into groups they wanted them to be in.
No more. Now, with so much information at our fingertips via the internet, it’s easy to do your own market research as a consumer. It’s easy to find communities of people with similar interests, whether it’s cosplay, 90s hip hop, or productivity hackers. Just look at all the subreddits on reddit!
Try to find out what’s unique about your customer, what their tribe likes and doesn’t like. Give them choices based on this feedback. Have fun with and interact with them. Talk to them on a personal level. Social media and email offer great opportunities to do this.
The consumer’s obligation
Let’s flip this on it’s head and instead of being a marketer or business owner for a moment, think about yourself. How are you weird? What little sub-niches do you subscribe to? Whether you’re into stand-up paddleboarding, you’re obsessed with making healthy DIY desserts, or you like writing children’s stories, you’re weird. If you think about normal, these things don’t really fit.
Weird is the new normal. The world is much more complex than we give it credit for, and instead of always trying to label and generalize, let’s embrace our weirdness and our tribes. Leave the other guys and gals to their own weirdness.
That said, as a responsible and caring consumer, consider what you’re telling businesses and marketers through your purchase decisions. Vote with your wallet. If you want to see more of something that suits your weirdness, invest in it.
I absolutely consider myself weird…in a good way (I hope!), and when I really think about it, I don’t know anyone who’s “normal”, so why do we try to market to normal? I love this concept, this collaborative approach to the marketplace that seems much less top-down than lateral. And of course, I love that we can start to recognize and embrace those who do things or think differently.
The best information is always in books. Get We Are All Weird: The Rise of Tribes and the End of Normal on Amazon today!