Problematic Problems

Nothing is as insidious as staring so intently at a problem that the solution is obscured. Back in my IT guru era, I once wasted an entire day staring at a single line of code trying numbly to figure out why the program was misbehaving. It was a simple syntax error (switching between Pascal and C can be tricky), but the problem was about my looking for logic errors when the more simple and likely syntax mistake was staring back at me. Marketers have wasted a lot more than a day by doing the same thing. Long ago, I had a near-client who insisted that the right go-to-market strategy for his company was 100% commitment to social media marketing. He came by this conclusion due to the success of another person who marketed a different technology using the same approach. The problem was that the successful person was selling to … Continue reading

The Only

Melissa Etheridge | audience, reach, differentiation

“There may be 300,000 of you … but I’m the only one.” Melissa Etheridge said that to the Woodstock ’94 audience (I know, I was there) as she was wrapping up her song titled “I’m the only one.” Though her song was about romance, it was also about marketing. Two directly related themes are wound-up in this quote: audience reach and differentiation. It doesn’t matter if you are a book author, software vendor or rock star. Each of us has an audience. To this audience we present something unique. Only once there is a sufficiently large audience and an undisputed differentiation will mass appeal (or even strong niche appeal) be possible. Take the case of a fitness book that landed a $1,000,000+ advance publishing deal, which in that industry is completely unheard of. Core to the publisher’s decision was that the authors had established audiences (or as the book biz … Continue reading