Seth Godin on Marketing: WHO

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July 7, 2015 by DJ Elroy

The first in my analysis of Seth Godin’s Marketing tips.

WHO are you trying to reach? (If the answer is ‘everyone’, start over.)

This is one of the big things that held me back. When I started DJing at clubs I was able to recognize the problem but didn’t really understand how serious the consequences could be. It took years of analysis once I’d stepped out of the scene to see how things could have been different if I’d had a more focused approach and targeted a more specific audience.

Back then with the big name jocks what you heard on the mixtape was usually what you heard at the live shows. They had to tour the states with the same records for every gig. Space was usually limited to what you could carry with vinyl. Sure, they’d change up some songs as they came across new ones or if they could stop at home for a few days, but for the most part a show on the east coast would sound similar to a show on the west coast. No big surprises (usually). The house crowd knew which guys to check out, the drum & bass crowd knew which names they liked, and although shows could be pretty diverse back then, we all pretty much trusted the DJs to know who they were trying to reach with their music, and we all knew what to expect.

Since I was playing local shows I could pull any stack of wax off my shelf and take it to the club. Some nights I’d go with funky house and breaks, sometimes NRG, sometimes bangin’ Chicago house, sometimes trance and progressive house, and sometimes I’d mix it up. The problem was the fans that liked my bangin’ house were’t too hot for my progressive stuff, and vice versa. A lot dug anything and everything, but I heard complaints that “you should play more of the stuff you played last time”. And since I switched it up so often I wasn’t sure which “last” time they wanted.

What I learned is that you can’t try to please everyone with the music you play.

Instead, narrow your core target. Do you want to connect with hip hop lovers? House heads? Trance fanatics? Depending on the market, you may need to narrow the scope even more. Funky house or Deep house?  New school hip hop or old school rap? Remember, it’s sometimes good to be the big fish in a small pond, but if you want to make it big you’ll need to find a way to eventually leap out of your small pond.

And when you do you get to start all over as the little fish.

But today it’s not as big of an issue. Sure, people still want you to play what they’re familiar with. You know, your “signature sound”. But they seem to be more accepting of different music every time.

As long as it fits their definition of “hip” and “cool”, that is. True fans will stick with you, they’ll trust your taste. But a lot of people nowadays are fickle; they’ll find the next best thing and leave you behind.

There’s a balance between making your current fans happy and finding new ones. The more you interact with them and find out what they want, they better you’ll be able to come up with a setlist that works for everyone.

But no matter how you do it, you can expect to come across the critics, the haters, and those who are envious of what you’ve achieved. It’s rare, but it does happen. More common is people who simply don’t care. They either aren’t interested in your music or they aren’t willing to give something new a chance. You don’t need to try to force them to “get” your music. Some will get it, some won’t. Don’t waste your time and energy chasing after people that aren’t interested.

Remember, you can’t please everyone, so focus on those you can.

Next week: Seth Godin on Marketing: WHAT

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