How to market to the largest group of people with disposable income, 2009 edition

August 10th, 2009

Okay, listen up. This is now how to get the attention of people that have the money to spend on whatever they’re selling. Technically this is a very shitty economy, but not everyone is hurting, and those who have cut back still want cool things. In fact, for the kind of people you wan to sell your products to, the amount of their income they spend on necessities is obscenely low by historical standards.

That’s a good thing. So how do you get them to spend their disposable income on your product or service?

Here’s what you do. Keep in mind this is ‘big picture’ stuff:

  1. Create a product that is useful or ingenious. That’s the easy part.
  2. Make it either easy to use or intuitive. Pay very close attention to the user experience, because everyone has more to do and needs their tools efficient and friendly.
  3. The branding abstracts the product into an easy-to-comprehend symbol. People need visual symbols to help identify complex concepts.If you can’t do this with your product, either go back to step one or sell the product to non-consumers (businesses, government, etc.).
  4. Focus all of your attention on internet marketing. Now this is a little tricky. Here are some guidelines for marketing online:
    1. Be honest about what your product does.
    2. Make the juiciest pieces of marketing open-ended to encourage play. Let your potential market play with your ads: let them make fun of your product, incorporate your advertising into whatever their working on. Trust me, the people most receptive to your product (and the ones most likely to spread the word for you) are smart and creative and will mess with your messaging anyway. By giving them permission you increase your chances of reception. (More on this part later).
    3. You can forget about viral marketing. Ideas will spread if you have a great product. So spend money on that and not on making sure your marketing will spread fast. Besides, most viral marketing putters out after a few days, and everyone knows when viral ad is manufactured and not something genuinely compelling.
  5. Design the best customer service program you can afford, and implement something better. Your product will fail, and your customers deserve the best treatment you can give. No amount of skimping is allowed. Plus, people will talk about your customer service, even if it’s good but especially if it’s bad.

Yeah yeah, I know all about this. You don’t have to tell me,” you might say. Or that Seth Godin covers these points over and over on his blog and in his books.

That’s true. This is basic stuff. But modern corporations aren’t designed to take care of the basic stuff, and human nature makes us want to look further, to the problems and worries those bigger and more successful than us should worry about.

Consider these points where you can start. There are lots of details that you’ll need to figure out, such as how to make your internet marketing as efficient as possible to be shared, or the hard work required to pull off a successful customer service program. But there’s no hope for you if you can’t figure out the basics.

[Note: slightly edited to remove the most blatantly douchey passages.]



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