Land on a website, turn on TV…if you’re a traditional type, pick up a newspaper. Wherever you get your news, you’ll notice the analysts always describe the president as “playing to his base.”
Trump traipses around the country holding campaign rallies, whipping his core supporters into a frenzy. And alienating people who aren’t part of that group, deepening the gap between his people and the rest of the country.
Whether that works well in politics remains to be seen. And here’s why we should pay attention to it, whether we’re news-junkies or not.
We can learn from this notion of playing to the base.
My radio colleagues called it “super-serving our demo.” Meaning: a chunk of the total radio audience listens to us now. If we give them exactly what they want and then give them even more of it, they’ll stick around longer. Our ratings will go up. Our ad rates will rise. And we’ll all keep our jobs. (Or not—those radio bosses can be mercurial.)
A station could also increase ratings by bringing in new sets of ears. They could dilute the format to appeal to different listeners. But they’d risk driving away the people already tuning in.
Besides, advertising to attract those new listeners would cost a bundle. And nobody knows what really works anyway.
The experts say the same thing applies in every business. It’s easier and much less expensive to keep the customers you have and sell them more than it is to bring in new customers.
So, how do you super-serve your demo? How do you play to your base to keep them in your corner?
Know who you serve
That may sound elementary, but ask a few professionals who their clients are and you’ll get answers like, “Well, really anybody could use my help.” Anybody, it turns out, is hard to find.
You’ll do better if you narrow it down. Radio stations do that with demographics: gender, age, income, etc. If they get specific enough, they can claim dominance in the category. (We’re Number One in red-haired, left-handed hermaphrodites!)
Your customers might be in a particular business. You coach dentists to grow their practice. You sell software to accounting firms. Or you help banks improve their customer service.
You can also use psychographics. Knowing something about your prospects’ attitudes, values, and personality gives you some clues about how to appeal to the People You Serve.
Know who you don’t serve
Donald Trump doesn’t even try to appeal to certain people. The “elite,” the “enemies of the people,” the “radical left Dems.” Some commentators want him to be everybody’s president. He’s happy being the president for his people, excluding everyone else.
In business, we don’t usually benefit by giving the metaphorical finger to people who aren’t part of our base. We do benefit when we avoid wasting time and money appealing to people who aren’t a good fit anyway.
If they don’t need what you offer, if they need it but won’t pay for it, or if they need something else more urgently…they are People You Don’t Serve.
Know what they want
You can hire an expert to delve deep into data. Market research firms will tell you in detail about what motivates your buyers based on surveys and focus groups and two-way mirrors. They have all kinds of ways to understand your clients.
Those researchers are out of reach for small business owners. You could buy generic research that’s already been done for your industry. Or you can go DIY, maybe take a course on designing surveys and analyzing results.
Or…just ask. Seriously, if you ask the right questions and really listen to the answers, your current clients or former customers will tell you a lot about how you can best serve them and people like them.
You have information or skills or insights to support your customers. What are they, exactly? Can you describe them in a way that lights you up and sparks desire?The goal is for people to want what you offer and to want it from you. As opposed to any of the dozens or even hundreds of other people who do something similar.
If that sounds challenging, you’ll find how-to help here. https://catherinejohns.com/purple-cow/
Dr. Seuss was dead-on when he wrote. “There is no one alive who is you-ier than you.” Make the most of that you-iness to connect with the clients who are a perfect fit.
When you know who you serve (and who you don’t). And you know what they want. And you deeply know who you are and how you meet their needs…
You’re all set to super-serve your demo and grow your business or boost your career.
A good start would be to post a comment below. Tell us …