The Consumer Isn’t a Moron

Ali Mese
Ali Mese
Nov 23, 2015 · 10 min read
Credit

3,520,934

That’s the number of blog posts written today.

5,740,000,000

That’s the number of Google searches per day.

782,651,327

That’s the number of tweets sent today.


“… I’m a bit scared to publish: We’ve Been Failing on Social Media for the Past 2 Years,” he tweeted.

It didn’t take long before the article hit my newsfeed being shared by many marketing people I follow.

Social reach is just one side of the story

We are starting to see content saturation in many forms. The concept of information overload isn’t new, it’s just getting intense. Steve Rubel called it “attention crash” eight years ago.

Is this the beginning of a new era we might soon call “#ConsumerTakeOver”?

An era where consumers finally take control and react by ignoring our messages.

Photo by Craig Sunter

The Engagement Magic

And the trouble with focusing on growth before you have retention

David Ogilvy, the father of advertising as the world called him, warned us 52 years ago not to underestimate the power of consumers:

The consumer isn’t a moron. She is your wife.

In today’s modern world of gender equality, he would probably rephrase it to “he/she is your spouse.” But his inspiring words make it pretty clear that we shouldn’t take any consumer for granted or insult their intelligence.

From Mattan Griffel’s popular SlideShare presentation

“If you invest in growth before you have retention, you’re renting users, not acquiring them.”

We might have thousands of users, followers, or customers. But how many of them are true fans?

Tribe

COMMUNITY

True Fans

While most of us were busy flooding people’s newsfeeds with posts and tweets, few others got it right from the very beginning.

1. Engaged ≠ True fan

Kelly’s true fans principle relies on the assumption that each true fan spends $100 per year to help the creator make a living. This economical contribution is what differentiates true fans from others.

2. The power of an invisible audience

Your tweet or article didn’t get the attention you think it deserved? Not enough retweets or shares? Well, here is some good news. Your audience might be way bigger than you think.

3. There is no right way to engage an audience

There is so much to learn from those who have built a community of true fans by engaging their audiences. Here are a few ways to do it:

  • Make few people feel special:Make your first 100 users feel like thought leaders,” recommends Erik Torenberg, explaining how they leveraged community to grow Product Hunt. Giving exclusive access to only a few people or sending gifts are some possible ways.
  • Help customers get better at what they do: According to Helpscout’s Gregory Ciotti, “Nobody wants to be a camera expert — they want to be a great photographer. Success means helping customers become better at what they do.” Startups like Helpscout or Buffer delight their audiences by publishing top-notch content that improves the businesses of their customers.
  • Identify a niche and build a community around it: Instead of employing traditional marketing tactics, Hubspot’s co-founder Dharmesh Shah coined a brand new term nine years ago: ‘inbound marketing’. This not only boosted the awareness of Hubspot but also gave birth to one of today’s most popular community websites inbound.org. The same happened when Sean Ellis built a community of people passionate about growth on growthhackers.com, after he coined ‘growth hacking’.
  • Use side project marketing to create extreme value: In a world where blogging takes ages and ads no longer work, I tried to explain in my latest post how side project marketing can be an alternative growth machine. levels.io is yet another serial maker who has built a community of digital nomads by launching tools, from Nomad List to Nomad Trips.

How many of your followers are your true fans? What are you doing to engage them?

It’s always nice to talk about fancy metrics or growth hacking terms like A/B tests and DAUs. But when it comes to growth, how many of us set a qualitative target such as “Delighting your tribe”?


This post is part of a series of stories that explore the fundamentals of escaping competition and building a business on your own terms in the most cluttered marketplace in history.1. Long-term thinking is most powerful when everything is falling apart
Lessons from founders who built their empires over the last decade
2. How we got 11.3 million pageviews without the growth hacking bullsh*t
Growth begins with words.
3. Don't build a startup, build a movement
How to move the masses by going beyond selling just software
4. How to escape competition (and build a business on your own terms)
A practical framework to build your unique selling proposition
5. Growing startups when the product sucks
Don’t hurt your company by focusing on growth too much, too soon.
6. How to build a startup empire without selling your freedom
Small is the new big.
7. Sell something bigger than your otherwise boring business
Don’t sell boats. Sell time on the water.
8. I can’t tell you why our business is growing
Kill your conversion funnel.
9. The consumer isn’t a moron
On having an obsession for growth before retention.
10. The future of growing startups
Growth doesn’t happen overnight.

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