Using The Howard Stern Effect in Your Marketing

by Adam Kreitman

You either love him or you hate him. There’s no in between when it comes to Howard Stern.

And that’s just fine with Howard. He’s not out there trying to please everyone.

He knows very well that his style of entertainment rubs a lot of people the wrong way and a bunch of folks find him repulsive.

But he also knows that his controversial style creates a rabid, devoted fan base who’ve helped Howard rake in tens of millions of dollars over the years.

There’s a lesson there when it comes to marketing your business…you can’t please everyone.

I was having a conversation with a client the other day about complaints he’s received about some new videos on his website.

This client offers a service that both children and adults could benefit from. He happens to be very focused on helping kids and they account for 98% of this business. And that’s just the way he wants it.

But he got some complaints that the videos on his site focused on kids which might alienate some adults who’d otherwise be interested in his services.

Both the client and I had the same reaction to that criticism…

…Who cares?

Alienate them! They’re not his target demographic and it’s much more important to focus on kids than to make the adults feel welcome too.

Too many businesses try to be all things to all people. They’re not willing to take a stand for fear of offending some segment of the population.

That’s a mistake.

Because in trying to please everyone, you dilute your marketing message to the point that it’s so bland and boring, it  doesn’t resonate strongly with anyone.

Now I’m not suggesting your marketing should be vulgar and you should go out of your way to offend and alienate people.

Just don’t be afraid of alienating some people with highly targeted messaging that speaks to your ideal prospects.

Here’s a great example of a company that does that, The Dollar Shave Club.

Their video, featured on the home page of their site is clearly aimed at men. It’s not for kids. Many women (and some men too) may find the humor offensive. And, ya know what…that’s just fine.

Hey, the video has almost 7 million views on YouTube. Think it would have gotten there with a boring video featuring men, women and children of all ages touting what a great company they are, how wonderful their blades are and why you should buy them?

Not a chance!

Take a stand and don’t worry about being controversial…you want people to respond emotionally to your marketing messages.

When you do that, like Howard Stern, there’s gonna be people who are totally turned off by you. But, more importantly, there’s gonna be plenty of others – your ideal prospects – who’ll become rabid fans and can’t get enough of you.

You’re never gonna please everyone…and your marketing will be much more effective if you don’t try to.

Photo courtesy of B. Norton 

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