January 4, 2012

Creating Explosive Impact in your Market

This is a post on how to create maximum impact with minimum effort with your products.

In Seth Godin’s Purple Cow, an excellent book about how to make your products remarkable, he outlines how catering to the general masses has become completely ineffective in this day and age. In order to create the largest impact using the least possible resources, a niche needs to be blown away with what you have to offer. Being a big fish in a little pond is much more effective than being an unknown little fish in a big pond. Thus to make the biggest impact possible, the trick is to find the smallest untapped niche that is ready and waiting for you to solve their problems – its that simple. The overall process can be split up as follows:

  1. Find a problem that really affects people that you can provide a solution for
  2. “Niche down” so that you cater to a more specific, targetable demographic with your solution
  3. Connect with your niche
  4. Make an impact in that niche

Note that I did not mention the word “sale” at all! People have grown so accustomed to being sold to that they have developed filters that make them switch off when they feel they are being advertised to. In order to sell to your market, you need to give them value by connecting with them and making an emotional and psychological impact in their minds which will naturally lead them to buying your products! In this post I will be focusing on the fourth point.

Ordinary is boring, and being remarkable is the new black.

The business world’s primary currency has changed from money to attention – the longer you keep the attention of your visitors and customers, the better position you stand to convert them. The web has truly globalized the world economy, to the extent of creating dozens, hundreds or thousands of competitors in every niche imaginable. With so many options for consumers – the goal has become to keep their attention for as long as possible. The best way to do this is to stand out to the point of creating a crater of impact in your target niche. I always think big, and my goals have always been around shaking the foundations of the industry I play in by presenting different viewpoints and different ways of doing things.

Don’t be scared to f*** up!

The (limited) downside of being remarkable is that you take on more risk by going into unknown territory. When I created and managed the South African social media report, nothing of its kind and magnitude had been produced in the country yet, so I had no idea what the market uptake or reaction would be. However, since I did my research on finding a problem, niching down and connecting with my niche, I was fairly confident that my impact strategy would be successful. And I was right – within 24 hours of its release I had appeared on international TV for interviews, as well as several radio stations. Not only was I giving real value to my niche, but my impact strategy had worked. Across the world and all industries, if you offer something worth talking about, you are going to be abundant in attention. Once you have peoples’ attention, sales flow naturally like water from a spring.

Take a look at the top viral videos of 2011, and see what elements they have in common. One cannot say that these videos represent the epitome of excellence, humour or insight. However, they are insanely sticky and shareable simply because people dared to do something different than most, describable in a single sentence, and easily shareable with the world. Take Rebecca Black’s video for example – it was shockingly bad to the point of being laughable, but she has racked up over 30 million views on Youtube. What are 30 million views worth to you and your products, at the risk of possibly being laughed at or ridiculed?

Its about the people you connect with early on

Malcolm Gladwell articulates the concept of impact very well in his book The Tipping Point. He describes how there are essentially three types of people involved in getting a product from being unknown to being a viral sensation:

  1. Connectors, who are the people who “link us up with the world … people with a special gift for bringing the world together.” They are “a handful of people with a truly extraordinary knack for making friends and acquaintances”.
  2. Mavens, who are “information specialists”, or “people we rely upon to connect us with new information.”
  3. Salesmen, who are “persuaders”, charismatic people with powerful negotiation skills.

In order to make that impact crater that you want, you need to connect and nurture relationships with all three types of people.

For connectors, I use Twitter. Search for keywords relating to your niche and products and see the kinds of conversations influential people are having in this space. Use Klout to check how influential some of these people really are, especially in terms of two-way community engagement. You want to find knowledgeable people who connect with others in the same niche and voice their views.

For mavens, find influential blogs relating to your niche and connect with those bloggers. These are your thought leaders that people rely on for concrete information, and are incredibly valuable to enhancing your brand. Of course, it goes without saying that you need to be offering something of value first before connecting with these types, as they typically see straight through marketing gimmicks.

For salesmen, I look for people that have sold similar products in different niches, or a different product for my same niche. I form bonds and relationships with them and see ways in which we can work together for mutual benefit. Finding these people depends on the niche, but a good start is searching for similar products in your niche, and connecting with the creators of those products.

What is your primary emotion evoked in your message?

It is now fairly common knowledge that sales are multiplied when an emotion is evoked at the time of purchase. This is what causes the stickiness in certain products – products that you can’t help but think about, talk about and buy. The reason for this is that the human brain stores and deals with emotions much more vividly than cold hard facts. If you try recall your most lucid memories, they are probably attached to an intense emotion (excitement, fear etc.) Your marketing message and any other material (videos, pictures, testimonials) must be completely congruent to evoking the desired emotion from your audience. Some examples of intense emotions and feelings that suit different niches are greed, fear, excitement, love (lust), pride, surprise and generosity.

Evoking emotions isn’t always easy, but there are a few tricks when it comes to this. Neuro linguistic programming has made great inroads into understanding the human mind and what makes us tick. I won’t go into too much detail in this post, but here are a couple of things I use:

  • Use language enriched with adjectives and metaphors. Metaphors are so rooted in our upbringing that for many people they act as an anchor for relaxation and involvement. Metaphors bypass any conscious blocks or resistance and slip into the unconscious mind. Use them!
  • Anchoring, whereby we can change a person’s state or emotion because they are associated with some stimulus. There are many types of anchors, from verbal phrases to physical touches or sensations, and also certain sights and sounds. Whenever a person is in an intense state where the mind and body are strongly involved together and a specific stimulus is consistently and simultaneously provided at the peak of the state, the stimulus and the state become neurologically linked. Then, anytime the stimulus is provided, the intense state automatically results.

The Impact Checklist

When I gun for maximum impact with a new product, business or venture, I go through the following checklist:

  1. Does it fulfil a satiating desire or solve an immediate problem of the niche market?
  2. Does it cater to a small niche of engaged users?
  3. Have I engaged the leading influencers and thought leaders in the desired niche to spread the word?
  4. Can I put it on auto-pilot, scale it up or otherwise make sure it reaches the maximum possible market without much effort?
  5. Can it be manufactured, put together and released in under 4 weeks? If not, I cut out the fat until this becomes possible – if I fail I like to fail quickly.
  6. Is it so remarkable that, combined with the power of my immediate network, it needs a very small marketing budget to spread the word?
  7. Can the results of the impact be concisely measured, be it in sales, page views or even tweets?

Once I am happy with the above criteria, I put the entire plan into action! The last point is very important because it allows for feedback into what is working. We can correlate spikes in our page views and sales with activities and marketing campaigns, which allow us to hone in on what really works.

A last word

In any given activity, 80% of the results of that activity are normally brought about by 20% of the input. Known as the Pareto principle, this applies in many varied aspects of life – and especially in business. Instead of working like a chop for 20 hours a day which many entrepreneurs seem insanely proud to boast about, I focus on the 20% of my activities that eventually lead to 80% of my sales.The new age marketing funnel has lengthened and distorted, since consumers have grown accustomed to advertising and the standard sales pitches, and yet there are more options to connect with your consumers than ever before. This makes for a fairly tricky problem, which is why we need to always keep in mind:

    1. Keep it as simple as you can reasonably make it, but no simpler
    2. What 80% of your work should be thrown out, automated or outsourced so that you can focus on the 20% that really produces your results
    3. Measure, measure, measure. What can be measured, can be managed, and can be optimized.

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  1. Tat January 5, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    Nice. Maybe you should try in journalism? I like this sentence: Once you have peoples’ attention, sales flow naturally like water from a spring.

  2. Kent January 10, 2015 at 6:34 am

    What’s up, its nice post regarding media print, we all be familiar with media is a wonderful
    source of facts.

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