Does your marketing look like everyone else’s? It may be that everyone markets that way because it works, but it is as least as likely that they are all trying to blend in. Why not set yourself apart from the crowd?
Miranda July is an author, artist and filmmaker. For her book of stories, No One Belongs Here More Than You, she created an unusual website: http://www.NoOneBelongsHereMoreThanYou.com/. The site itself tells a story, with each page containing a snippet.
July begins by writing that she is going to, “make this whole website right now on this dry-erase board.” Then she takes you through a stream of consciousness narrative about the book, the website and more, all written on her refrigerator and her stove top (because it turns out she doesn’t have a dry-erase board). Odd? Yes, but also oddly entertaining.
Almost as interesting as the website itself has been the reaction to it. People either love it or hate it, but no one is neutral. Some viewers think it is marvelous and can not wait to read her book. Others think it is boring or just don’t “get” it and think it is a waste of time.
What is clear is that Miranda July has created something that has people talking. Because her site is being linked to from all over the web, lots of new people are learning about her.
Will it harm her book sales that some of them think the site is silly? No, because those people would not have purchased her book anyway. However, others will discover her through the site, respond to her quirky style, and buy the book. These are the people for whom the site is intended. Miranda July’s site speaks to her audience. People who would like her stories will also like the site. Who cares about everyone else?
Does your marketing aim for the lowest common denominator, trying to be acceptable to everyone while speaking to no one? By positioning your product to appeal to a specific group of people, and focusing on their wants, needs, tastes and opinions, you risk rejection by others. That can be especially difficult to take when the product is you or something you have created. However, if you stay in the middle of the road, being careful not to do anything that someone somewhere may not like, you run the risk of speaking to no one.
Do not be afraid of alienating people who are not part of your target market. You can not be all things to all people, nor should you try.
This does not mean that you should create a site like Miranda July’s. Your market is different, and your approach must be as well. Craft your message to attract the customers who are most compatible with your business and deliver it to them in a way to which they will respond.
Know your audience. Understand what excites them and moves them to take action, and you will make an emotional connection with them that will cause them to buy.