Ever had an idea that couldn’t miss?
You took immediate action, created the perfect warm-up content, the best launch strategy, and the perfect offer . . . .
And then it totally failed.
So yeah, the film Purple Rain contains the consummate lesson on this one.
The Lesson of Lake Minnetonka
Upon mature reflection, the album Purple Rain is a work of genius, while the film . . . not so much. But any true Prince fan loves it anyway.
And as a teenage boy in 1985, the fact that a diminutive man sporting a Jheri curl and a ruffled shirt could score with gorgeous women was rather encouraging, you know?
One memorable scene involves Prince giving bombshell Apollonia Kotero a motorcycle ride through rural Minnesota. As he pulls up to the shoreline, Prince lets her know she has to prove herself.
“You have to purify yourself in the waters of Lake Minnetonka,” Prince says mysteriously. Then he says it again.
Next, fulfilling every teenage boy’s as yet unimagined wish, Apollonia strips down to her thong and jumps in the lake.
The freezing water provides an immediate shock. But the cruel surprise comes from a half-apologetic Prince.
“That ain’t Lake Minnetonka.”
Did You Jump in the Wrong Lake?
Often, you do everything right, except for the first thing.
You start with an otherwise great product and mistakenly try to sell it to the wrong people.
This isn’t always fatal, but it’s definitely frustrating. And it’s because you focused on what you want rather than who you’re trying to serve. You jumped right in without understanding all the critical facts.
While it may sound a bit kumbaya, understanding who you can help helps you. It’s the key to the kind of outstanding success that eludes those who don’t understand why the take, take, take strategy doesn’t work.
It’s really give, give, give to win. But only if you give the right things to the right people.
Missing the true needs and desires of your market is like jumping in the wrong lake.
You simply end up like Apollonia — cold, wet, and disappointed.
Start With the People, Not the Product
So where do online marketers go wrong?
There’s an old saying . . . start with the prospect, not the product. It keeps you from trying to sell stuff to the wrong people.
Even better, it keeps you from selling stuff nobody wants.
That truly unfortunate event happens when someone has an idea they think, for example, every small business owner should embrace. But it isn’t something the small business market wants to embrace.
It’s like trying to sell asparagus to kids because it’s good for them. If you’re competing against the jingle of the ice cream truck down the street, you’re not likely to get the results you want, because there’s simply no market for your offer compared to what else is out there.
In this sad case, the analogy is more Matrix than Purple Rain:
Do not think that the lake is cold . . . that’s impossible.
The truth is, there is no lake.
It’s About Them, Silly
You’ve heard it all before. But do you get it?
Wealthy entrepreneurs are essentially highly-compensated servants to their chosen market. Even when the market doesn’t know what it wants yet, its up to you to serve the market by channeling existing desires into new products and services.
And the benefits are way better than the numerable perks Alfred gets from the Bat Cave.
Wow, three film references in one post . . . did it work?
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About the Author: Brian Clark is founder of Copyblogger and CEO of Copyblogger Media. Get more from Brian on Twitter.