I’ve been taking advantage of a snow day to catch up on my reading, including blog reading. I know this is another Seth Godin post, but bear with me because it connects to the last post on the basics of business models.
In a post entitled “You can’t change everything or everyone, but you can change the people who matter,” Godin addresses several aspects of the business model in a way that reflects what I believe is the new reality for the arts (and, really, for most business). He wants you to define your audience very specifically: “So the first, most important question is, “who do we want to change?” If you can’t answer this specifically, do not proceed to the rest. By who, I mean, “give me a name.” Or, if you can’t give me a name, then a persona, a tribe, a spot in the hierarchy, a set of people who share particular worldviews.”
Most of the time, when we try to, say, promote a show we are doing, we don’t get that specific. We just put an ad in a newspaper and hope we reach someone, anyone, preferably a stranger because for some reason we don’t think having an audience filled with people we know is worthy. To be a Real Artist, we have to play to strangers.
This is silly. And so…20th century!
Know your audience, your “customer segments.” Know them by name, know them by tribe, but know them. Start with one person and work out from there. Build your 1000 true fans one at a time.
But you can’t stop there.
Godin goes on:
Then, be really clear about:
What does he already believe?
What is he afraid of?
What does he think he wants?
What does he actually want?
What stories have resonated with him in the past?
Who does he follow and emulate and look up to?
What is his relationship with money?
What channel has his permission? Where do messages that resonate with him come from? Who does he trust and who does he pay attention to?
What is the source of his urgency—why will he change now rather than later?
After he has changed, what will he tell his friends?
Now that you know these things, go make a product and a service and a story that works.
As you think about what you have to offer — your personal and unique value proposition — consider those with whom you most want to communicate. If they’re a faceless Them, you’re doomed.