I’ve always thought of myself as kinda weird…
- I am probably one of 100 people who bought, “Here Today…Aragon Tomorrow” Opi nail polish, inspired by The Lord of the Rings, the day it went on sale.
- I am a firm believer that Andie should have stayed with Duckie at the end of Pretty in Pink.
- I am a zombie fan, and feel a bit of a kinship with them as a result of having parts from dead people installed in my spine.
But, in the past few years, as I’ve been exposed to oodles of other adults — both in person and via social media — I’ve come to adjust that thinking…
In reality, everyone is actually pretty weird. And, this abundance of weirdness is making the field of marketing and communications ridiculously more fun and exciting to work in today than ever before.
Where is your tribe?
Seth Godin explores this idea further in his latest book, We Are All Weird. In it, he suggests that weirdness is not only the new normal, but it’s also helping to put a big fat nail in the coffin of mass marketing.
For a long time, marketing has been about getting your product or service out THERE – to everyone – and making that product or service as generic as possible so it would attract the widest swath of the population.
But technology has made that approach antiquated.
We live in an on-demand culture now. Everything is customized. (Have you looked at the number of different types of pasta sauce at the supermarket lately?) There are hundreds of thousands of media outlets and millions of websites serving all sorts of people.
Niche markets are bursting from the cracks in “the masses” in increasing numbers every day.
Normal people who want the same thing as everyone else aren’t the majority anymore. Weird people are.
People like urban foragers, Tea Partiers, LARPers, fantasy football players, steampunk enthusiasts, Pit Bull rescuers, reality TV show alumni, shoe collectors, scrapbookers, marathon runners, deadheads, Boomerang Millenials, homebrewers, Tiger Moms and punk rock dads (to name just a few).
The new mode of marketing is about finding these and other tribes of weird people and marketing your unique product or service directly to them, in the way they want to hear about it, and within the channels in which they want to communicate.
Don’t be shy. Go give those weirdos a hug.
It’s time for businesses to step out of the conference room and stop wasting time guessing who their market is and what they want. Using things like online search, content marketing, and social media, it’s easier than ever to go out and find tribes (or attract them to your online home), join their conversations and communities and ask them for yourselves.
As Godin says, the result could be that your market might be far more specialized (and thus smaller) than you’re used to, but your share will be bigger. Then, your content can be more focused. Your communications can speak in your tribe’s distinct voice. And, your sales process can be informed by their existing behaviors and get better at predicting their future needs.
One of my favorite quotes in Godin’s book is, “Average is for marketers who don’t have enough information to be accurate.”
He’s right. There is a sea of information in front of you for the taking. Why not use it to take your company beyond average, beyond normal, beyond what you think “most people” would like?
Your greatest risk is that you may end up becoming something even better than weird…you could be extraordinary.