There Is No Mass Market
April 29, 2014
I love this phrase: "The deep that unites us."
It infers that within all humans, there is something inherent that will finally make us care more about humanity than our own selfish wants.
It is hopeful.
As we approach another election cycle, unity will feel more and more distant as candidates and their henchmen do their best to point out what divides us.
The reason that happens is because winning elections now is about marketing candidates, and the best marketing minds understand any product is best served by passionate evangelists.
It's better to be either loved or hated than to be merely tolerated. Passion is what drives donations; it's what creates long lines at the voting booths.
And, it's what drives PPM success for radio stations.
If your station is trying to be all things to all people, you will fail. If your morning show is afraid to upset someone, chances are I'll hear a pretty bland and forgettable product.
I'm not suggesting you go out of your way to piss off half your potential audience.
I am suggesting you work very hard to delight a few listeners with content so remarkable and unusual they can't resist talking about it with their friends and family.
"Delight the few, attract the many." I love that phrase too, and both were uttered by the same woman, Laurel Cutler, a 'futurist' recently inducted into the Advertising Hall of Fame.
Here's more of her accumulated wisdom...
"I think research is after the fact ... and I don't think there is any available research on the future."
"You are a lot better off intensely pleasing a niche that can grow than you are boring most people. And if they're not intensely involved, they're not going to buy it anyway. And we worry too much about offending the people who don't care about the proposition to begin with."
Laurel believes -- as do I -- that your job is to create a product listeners either love or hate, rather than one that everyone sort of likes, but only a little.
"That's where mass businesses are. Nobody cares a hell of a lot, but nobody dislikes it enough to kill it. That's the wrong proposition. The right proposition is marvelous. Only two people think so. Then there will be 10. There will be 40. There will be 100. There will be 1,000. There will be a business."
Do you have the courage to stand apart, to sound different than any other station in your market, in your format?
Don't settle for incremental tweaks no one even hears out of fear your Regional VP of Programming may notice and question.
Create something about which people are immediately passionate.
That is where mass markets are now.
That is where your success lies in 2014 and beyond.