Find Customers with an Unusual Position based on a set of Values
You can find your target audience by staking out an unusual position in relation to a set of values.
We know that people's purchasing decisions are motivated by deep-seated needs and desires.
But there's something else that drives the decision to buy: personal values – in other words, the things people care about when pursuing the things they want.
For example, imagine a woman trying to fulfill one of her most fundamental human needs: nutrition.
As she looks over the potato chip options in the grocery store, there are different values that can sway her purchasing decision.
If she cares about affordability and popularity, she'll go for the cheapest big name brand.
If she appreciates healthiness and sustainability, she'll choose the organic local brand.
Each value can be paired with a mirror opposite.
Together, they form the two extremes of a spectrum.
Riskiness vs. Dependability
Casualness vs. Professionalism
Old-fashionedness vs. Trendiness
Speediness vs. Methodicalness
If you want to play it safe as a marketer, you can try to stake out either the middle ground between these values or one of the more popular extremes, like affordability.
After all, those are the places where most people can be found.
But these safe spots are where most companies are trying to market their products.
As a result, the competition is fierce.
If your company is a start-up, it can be difficult to get your message heard above the din.
To find your smallest viable market, the more effective approach is to move out to the extremes that haven't been overcrowded yet.
Even better, stake out a unique combination of extremes.
You can even link opposite extremes together!
That's part of what the Grateful Dead did to become one of the most commercially successful rock bands in history, despite scoring only one Top 40 Billboard hit in their 30-year career between 1965 and 1995.
They embraced both of the extremes between opposite musical values.
For example, they gave their fans music that was raw and loose by performing long, sprawling jams at their concerts – but they also gave them music that was polished and concise by recording 13 slickly-produced studio albums and cutting shorter songs for the radio.
Altogether, the Grateful Dead grossed more than $450 million in record sales alone, mostly by gaining a die-hard following from a core group of fans.
Next, we'll turn to cultivating your own core group of fans for your company and its product.