I was listening to a podcast interview with Maria Bamford and she summed up the current state of marketing in a story about online dating.
I had done online dating for a long time. I used to have a screen name that was very sort of vague. I put FunnyThoughtful. Lots of responses, too wide a net. I changed my name on OkCupid to Hogbook, because I liked the idea of a book about hogs called Hogbook. One guy answered, and we’re married today.
I think everyone experiences the desire to try and make the things they create more appealing to everyone, but that’s like trying to date everyone. Don’t you want to narrow it down to just the right people?
If you’re doing good, specific work, that kind of broad marketing hides what you do rather than advertising it.
What can you do to make sure that the right people find you? Being too broad in your approach may make you invisible to the audience that you are trying to attract. Market yourself in a way that describes what you do in a specific way so that when someone comes into contact with it they have enough information to be attracted or repelled.
I find when you start to ask people for advice on creative projects they immediately suggest getting rid the thing that is unique about the project because they haven’t seen anything else like it or it doesn’t appeal to them. If you’re opening a restaurant that only service blueberry pancakes and you call it The Breakfast Place you’ll get more people in the door. But, they’re going to be disappointed once they’re inside and they’re going to suggest that you start serving scrambled eggs and waffles. If you call your restaurant The Greatest Blueberry Pancakes in the WORLD, the right people are going to show up.
Don’t be afraid to make something that some people don’t like. As long as the right people like it, it’s going to be successful.
What is your Hogbook?