Open

New Year-type resolutions aren’t my thing. If I should be doing something, why not start now?

{This conceit, that I think, measure, ponder and then act is an act of self-delusion. Leave me alone.}

Discovering a few new emphases (note the subtle re-framing) meant the last few days of torpor weren’t wasted.

One point is really clear: life will become a series of enterprises, attempted and failed, with the object of creating ongoing income. Some will require more work than others, some will be disproportionately valuable WRT work input, others the reverse. (Meaning lots of work for less income.)

The one common factor is that everyone I meet is now a potential customer or provider. That sounds brutal, I know. But we’re self-protective animals, and even the most altruistic of relationships have some element of utility.

I’m open to everyone.

Not At Home

Facebook’s mobile revenues were up in the last quarter, a lot. Astonishingly, nearly 20% of the world’s population has an “account” with this company, which tells us something, although I am uncertain just what.

The advertisers’s dilemma continues. On the one hand we have this shift to life on devices. On the other we have legacy media still operating, albeit at a much lower level. I can still remember the heyday of the newspaper classified ads business, when Fairfax, the then owners of the Sydney Morning Herald, declared their small-ads business a “river of gold”.

Noteworthy, thirty years on, of its replacement with the “river of drivel” that are most social media.

The question remains: how to find your customer? As Matt Drudge proclaimed about the likes of Twitter and Facebook, the internet is increasingly ghetto-ized. I wonder if consumer taste and choice is the same. Are we happy in our consumption fortress, or are we open to new ideas?

Impenetrable

food

As far as I can determine, there is no science behind what drives buying decisions. Wait. No. Actually, there is. Try this on for size, from 2008.

The way the brain buys, from The Economist.

With so much money at stake, finding a way to the shopping decision region of our brains is clearly valuable to all kinds of vendors. My question is how accurate any of this can be. Here’s the clue:

Technology will also begin to identify customers’ emotions. Dr Sharma’s software has the potential to analyse expressions, like smiles and grimaces, which are hard to fake.

Talking to people is one thing. What we tell someone about how or why we buy might be a long way removed from the real decision-making cascade. Telling ourselves stories, fakery, masking, justification: these are the building materials of our ego, which I believe has a large part in figuring how we spend our money.

In other words, we buy what we think we are.

By extension, of we can find a way to understanding who our potential customers think they are, we find a way to pitch our product. It’s that easy.

Right?

Competition

Only in the rarest of circumstances are we likely to have any field to ourselves. I am trying to find a few examples…but can’t come up with any.

Competition, we must assume, is always out there. Most of the time you will know who works in the same space as you, but not always. I think in the future that we will know about all of our rivals, and they will matter less. This all because of the internet.

Search will always find the people who share our space. From multi-megaliths to the smallest Etsy vendor, if your search terms are accurate, they’ll pop up. So that’s that. You can find them if you want to.

The upside of the internet is that markets are becoming smaller. You no longer need to think of being the next nationwide sensation – it’s now more difficult then ever, and probably more unlikely than ever. But if you want to find a tightly specified market of customers who are looking for just exactly what you offer…well, that’s never been easier.

Think of it as the difference between an off-the-rack pair of trousers as against a tailored pair. You and I provide a better fit than the big chain that makes you fit them. That’s really the take-away here, that a small devoted market is both more do-able and accessible than trying to suit everyone.

Small is beautiful. Customers who want you are gorgeous.