by Tom Ruwitch
This is a story about how diehard, ultra-conservatives found common ground with a bunch of environmentalist hippies.
I know that seems unlikely in this current day and age, but it happened not that long ago.
And this happening reveals important lessons for small business marketing.
Our story begins soon after the turn of the millennium, in 2002, when the Internet was just an infant.
A marketing expert named Jeff Paul wrote a book and launched a course designed to teach aspiring internet moguls how to sell stuff online and make big bucks.
The title of the book: “How To Make $4,000 A Day Sitting At Your Kitchen Table In Your Underwear.”
With the help of Dan Kenedy (one of the planet’s great direct response copywriters), Jeff wrote a full-page advertisement. In the 8.5x11-inch ad, Jeff crammed three columns of 8-point (tiny) type that promoted the book or the $695 training course.
The ad ran for a long time because it worked: More than 100,000 books and 12,000 courses sold.
And here’s the crazy thing…
Two of the publications in which the ad worked best were The American Spectator (political commentary for and by ultra-conservatives) and Mother Earth News (news and advice for back-to-the-earth hippies who want to get off the grid and minimize their environmental impact).
So...now you know. Ultra-conservatives and barefoot hippies like to sit at their kitchen table in their underwear -- or at least they wish they could.
I shared this story with a friend who said, “Well, EVERYBODY, would like tomake $4,000 a day sitting at their kitchen table in their underwear.”
The ad did NOT do well in every magazine, for every target market.
But it did extremely well in these two markets.
Many years later, Kennedy explained, “There is a reason the Mother Earth News reader and the American Spectator reader worked because they do have an important commonality. They’re as far apart, in many ways, as you could be. However, the commonality they share is a mindset of self-reliance. That they have in common. And this is a pitch about being self-reliant.”
And therein lies the BIG lesson.
When we define our target market, we often resort to demographics (age, location, income, etc.) or labels (conservative vs. liberal).
When we do this, we miss the mark. Our marketing sputters. We waste money. We generate few sales.
As Kennedy says, “You need to think about the mindset of your customer, the mindset of your prospect.”
When we focus on mindset, when we dive deep to understand what makes our prospects tick…
We connect with them. We attract their attention. We keep them tuned in (have you ever tried reading a full page of 8-point type? You better be tuned in when you try!) We inspire them to act.
And maybe, just maybe, we sell enough that we can sit around wherever we want, wearing whatever we want, doing whatever we want -- if that’s your thing.
Tom Ruwitch is the president and founder of MarketVolt, an interactive marketing firm. For more business-building marketing resources by Tom Ruwitch, go to MarketVolt.com/resources.