Entrepreneurship is about change: changing people’s actions, perceptions or the conversation.

Successful change is almost always specific, not general.

You don’t have a chance to make mass change, but you can make focused change.

The challenge of mass media was how to run adverts that would be seen by just about everyone and have those adverts pay off. That problem is gone, because you can no longer run an advert that reaches everyone. What a blessing.

Now, instead of yelling at the masses, and hoping that some people will hear your rant, the marketer has no choice but to choose her audience. To be specific. Perhaps not even with an ad, but with a letter, or a website or with a product that speaks for itself. And yet, our temptation is to put on a show for everyone, to dream of bestseller lists and the big PR win.

There is no product for everyone, everyone does not exist in the market anymore.

So the first, most important question is, “who do we want to change?”

If you cannot answer this specifically, do not proceed to the rest. By who, I mean, “give me a name.” Or, if you cannot give me a name, then a persona, a tribe, a spot in the hierarchy, a set of people who share particular worldviews. People outside this group should think you are crazy, or at the very least, ignore you.

Then, be really clear about:

  • What does she already believe?
  • What is she afraid of?
  • What does she think she wants?
  • What does she actually want?
  • What stories have resonated with her in the past?
  • Who does she follow and emulate and look up to?
  • What is her relationship with money?
  • What channel has her permission?
  • Where do messages that resonate with her come from?
  • Who does she trust and who does she pay attention to?
  • What is the source of her urgency—why will she change now rather than later?
  • After she has changed, what will she tell her friends?

Now that you know these things, go make a product and a service and a story that works. No fair changing the answers to the questions to match the thing you have already made (you can change the desired audience, but you cannot change the truth of what they want and believe).

Don’t print thousands of pamphlets and hoping that out of thousands at least 10 will respond, and when they do you increase to two thousands hoping that 20 will respond. If this is how you market your offerings, then you are making noise and people today have mastered the art of switching off, of keeping noise away.

Stop disturbing people with your message. Sell to people who want to buy from you. Change people who matter. Its not easy, but its worth it.

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