In Official Marketing School, one was taught about Mass Marketing. And for decades, marketers have diligently papered every square inch of the visible world with ads. The plan wasn’t only to saturate, but to also constantly repeat those messages, in the hopes a brand message would somehow filter through the noise and make its way into the collective consciousness.
And when the Internet came along, all those mass marketing tactics just came on over from magazines and TV.
But the Internet was interactive. This audience could talk back.
They could decide what kinds of marketing ticked them off, and what kinds they actually enjoyed–for now.
And thus started a sea-change in marketing: away from mass marketing and toward Personal Marketing.
As fun as it was to work with Big Brands with Big Global Audiences early in my career, few things have been more fulfilling for me than working with smaller “global microbrands” these past ten years. What’s a global microbrand? It’s a term coined by one of my favorite bloggers (and artists) Hugh MacLeod, and aptly describes any small, tiny or niched brand that sells all over the world.
And that small brand could be, as Tom Peters wrote a decade earlier, “The Brand Called You” — the professional with expertise, knowledge, and life experience just yearning to break out and create some leverage.
Let’s take a closer look at this opportunity to brand and sell yourself, globally.
Are there too many books?
I remember reading an article a while back from some guy bemoaning the “death of the book.” Too many people were writing books, it seemed. All these lousy books were killing way too many trees and creating way too much market noise and crowding out those few books he deemed worthy or our time.
I thought this was priceless, on several levels. But that aside, imagine what this guy would say about the web!
“There are too many websites,” I imagine he’d write. “All the silly websites are crowding out the few genuinely valuable websites.”
Here’s the thing: One man’s silly can be another man’s gold, especially online.
There are enough books, the world can’t possibly absorb one more title – until someone with a pressing need requires a solution – and that one book, written by an expert passionate about that singular topic and gathering dust in a corner of the local Barnes and Noble – offers the ideal solution.
And heaven knows there are enough websites – most of them lost, never to be seen by human eyes.
Until . . . a woman with a pressing problem in Iowa types a search into Google looking for an immediate solution. And there appears the perfect site, offering an immediate solution in the form of an instantly downloadable e-book for $29.
There may be too many websites, but to someone with an urgent need, your website might be the site that changes their life.
And there aren’t only people in the United States searching for answers — if you write in English, expand your potential audience to include not only Canada, the UK, and Australia, but also South Africa, Singapore, India – every corner of the globe where someone speaks your language.
And here’s the good news if you’re thinking of creating an online business, out of the global marketplace, all you may need is 1,000 people.
Ready to meet your “global thousand?”
I’m of course referring to Wired editor Kevin Kelly’s famous statement that “. . . anyone producing (something of value) needs to acquire only 1,000 True Fans to make a living.” (Full quote here.)
There are plenty of experts out there telling the regular guy there’s no chance to make it online, and if by “make it online” they mean “reach an audience of millions and generate billions in revenue,” well then, they’ve got a point.
But for a lot of us, living the life we choose, on our own terms, doesn’t require an Internet presence with that kind of scale.
Micro will do fine, thank you very much.
In fact, you can have a site that few people have ever heard of, attract and nurture 1,000 or more of your global “true fans,” and if you’re using the right foundational business fundamentals – you can build a great — and lasting — business for yourself.