Some of you may recall several years ago when the Dixie Chicks, a popular country music band, caught massive backlash from their fans when they expressed how disappointed they were with America and George Bush at a live concert. That one comment prompted several radio stations across the US to ban all Dixie Chick songs from being aired on their station fueled by an overwhelming number of phone calls from irate listeners outraged by their comments. One station in Kansas City went so far as to have a “chicken toss” party where former fans of the group met to trash the CDs and tapes of the band’s music. Overnight, they lost millions of dollars in not only music sales, but endorsements. Of course, the band was shocked by this—but it proves a point at how clueless and out of touch many celebrities are with their fan base. But many MSPs are just as ignorant about their own clients’ beliefs, language, problems, etc., and then wonder why they struggle to get clients to “see the value” of their offering, or even to get them to respond to marketing messages.
Connecting with your market and understanding them is an extremely important point that is still overlooked by the vast majority of businesses who struggle to figure out their marketing message and offers. Dan Kennedy once shared with me how he witnessed a fellow speaker BOMB on stage when delivering a “10 Foods You Should Never Eat” presentation. One of the items on the list was Coca-Cola, another pork; problem is, he delivered that speech in Alabama, one of the biggest consumers of barbeque and Cokes.
To truly be successful at marketing, you must become intimately familiar with your market, understanding how they think, their beliefs, their specific language, their problems and daily life. If you miss this, you will constantly miss the mark on sales calls and in marketing communications. Many a TV commercial has bombed by attempting to show a “slice of life” of their prospects using their product in a very upscale, pristine and brand-new home that does NOT look anything like the homes their real buyers live in. I’ve made this mistake in the past, but learned quick after I mistakenly called a VAR a system builder, to which he promptly and rather heatedly explained to me the difference. His reaction was over the top, but thank God he did or I may have continued this egregious error at my own expense. A while back I was interviewing a rather well-known and very smart copywriter for a Business Builder. During the interview he made the mistake of constantly referring to my members as “software developers” which made me CRINGE; I politely corrected him but he continued to say it to his detriment (nobody bought the course he offered at the end). This is yet another strong argument for niche; the more entrenched you become with a specific target market, the more you are able to bond with them and completely understand their wants, needs and buying motivations, to speak their language, know their enemies, their history and, ultimately, what they want to buy.