If you want people to get your message these days, the last place you want to pitch it is 'down the middle'.
Pitching to the masses as a strategy for success has been on its way out for a long time.
If you don't believe me, just think about the last sixty years of pop and rock music icons. Rock music is visceral. It's always been about rebelliousness and shock value and you can see it straight through to today. In the '50s, parents hated Elvis. He was rebellious and some said androgynous with his 'long hair'. He blurred racial lines - a white man that sounds like a black man singing songs that were first released as 'race' records.
How do you top Elvis? Jim Morrison, the Pied Piper of a stoned hippy generation, part poet, part hypnotist, son of a US Navy rear-admiral, once arrested for masturbating on stage. How do you beat that? The Sex Pistols. Who'll forget them chasing the Queen's boat down the Thames while blasting out their F-U version of God Save the Queen! ("God save the queen.... ya, I really mean it!"). In recent years, they declined to attend their induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, calling it a 'piss stain'. And if Elvis was androgynous, what was Boy George then? But the ultimate parents' nightmare? That award has to go to Marilyn Manson. His last six albums have all gone Top 10. His biggest selling release? Anti-Christ Superstar.
Need I say more?
What can small business owners and entrepreneurs take away from this lesson?
There are all sorts of markets out there for what you do. You don't need to look at just these five guys for examples. You can look across the entire field of music. Nowhere else that I'm aware is this lesson so completely proven out. Just in rock music alone, there are close to 130 different sub-genres
Define your own reality. The Sex Pistols are an amazing example of this rule. Punk was what rock music did to wrench itself free from what had happened to it after the Beatles broke up. Over-produced, orchestrated, over-complicated and pretentious, corporatized and otherwise emasculated, rock had become what it was never supposed to be. Safe and controlled. The Sex Pistols came and showed everybody that you didn't need to have any musical background to still make a statement.
Nike Knows. In 1988, Nike launched their Just Do It campaign. It's the world's second best known tag line. This is actually relevant - not just trivia.... hang in here with me! Nike knows that there are lots of would-be athletes who won't get off the couch because of one lame excuse or another. Their point? Stop the excuses - Just Do It!
Watch Seth Godin's TedX presentation as he explains Purple Cows and why you need to find a unique way to reach your market!