When Canadian tech-house DJ Joel Zimmerman dons his mechanical mouse head he commands thousands of rolling hipsters and meat heads with a wave of his hand. One of the most popular DJs of this decade, deadmau5 has made a name for himself by his massive light shows, infamous headgear and catchy techno riffs.
But did Joel just get lucky or has he found the key to a secret world?
About a year ago, Joel published a profound post on his Tumblr. After proclaiming how much he despises marketing, he went on to write about one of the best approaches to marketing I’ve ever read. If you can’t make it through his eccentric ramblings, you at least need to read this part:
What Joel is getting at is that when something is good people want it but they’ll get tired of it. Instead of giving them more of the same, create a world or a community in which they can experience your entire vision. Don’t give them products piecemeal; come at them from multiple angles, with products or services that all different. Let them explore, let them share with you, give them a reason to come back!
It’s kind of far fetched and abstract but if every company created a “Disneyland” feel around their product, customers would be much happier.
Joel’s post boils down to a few key concepts:
- You need to make a world
- Don’t overkill the promotional s***
- You are not fictitious
You Need To Make A World
Everyone sees the world differently. When you create a service or product you are trying to fix something that you see wrong with the world. But maybe other people don’t see that problem and therefore don’t need your product.
The hardest part about making a world for a your business is making people see your world instead of just theirs.
Visual Idiot is a web designer and developer. They’re a dime a dozen right? What makes @idiot unique is his humor. He has a strikingly no-holds-bar approach to criticizing the very industry he works in and in doing so he trains his customers and builds a community.
@idiot’s blog posts for instance on your average posts. Instead he might make an interactive list of common client complaints, a tribute to comment threads or my current favorite, the Photoshop simulator.
Some drawl companies would see projects like these as a waste of time but actually they speak directly to the woes every web designer and developer deals with on the daily. @idiot, whether or not on purpose, is finding people with common problems or interests and giving them a place to enjoy them rather than worry about them.
Don’t Overkill The Promo
Joel compares some musicians’ relentless promotion to someone jumping on the loudspeaker PA at a theme park and barking promos and discounts at the nice people every 20 minutes.
The thing about creating a world that people want to be in, is just that. You don’t need to trick people into wanting to be in your world with discounts or promos.
Seth Godin has made a name for himself as the original inbound marketer with his book Permission Marketing. The idea is that people don’t want to be interrupted by your marketing. Instead they want you to create what they’re looking for and if you do, they’re sold.
Godin does very little if any promo on his own. Instead he travels the world speaking and living the ideas he writes about in his books. He posts on his blog once a day and tweets it out once a day. He’s not cramming it down our throats. Instead he has created a community around his ideas and people line up willingly to receive the gem he releases.
You Are Not Fictitious
One of the most important aspects of Joel’s theme park example is one that most musicians and companies ignore.
You are a real person. You have a name and a face just like your customers! So why are you hiding behind a mascot, a logo or fake looking businessy stock photos? Get yourself out there and meet your customers.
My example for this point is Moz, the marketing software company. The Moz community is where I learned most of my SEO knowledge. Their Q&A section, community blog and main blogs are some of the best resources online for the industry. And the best part? Moz produces most of the content! They jump in front of the camera and share their latest insights. They put on a conference every year. They write blog posts every day with their pictures connected to them.
Why wouldn’t you want to promote the realness of your company? It’s what people want and it’s what turns them into customers.
Be Disney about your business. If someone can’t figure out your product, offer to meet them at Starbucks and teach them. If the thing broke upon delivery, send them 2 more for free and a t-shirt.
Going that extra mile goes a lot further than most people realize. And if those are the things you care about as a consumer, let your customers know by showing them. Create a world for them that exhumes excellent customer sevice and well-crafted products.
Don your own mouse head, put on your own light show and go find your own rolling hipsters and meat heads.