How focus affects customer understanding.

You can’t emphasize two things at once. That creates confusion. It delays buyer decision making. If you’re two things, they decide they don’t know who you are. Or what you do. They want an expert. Bewilderment results.

Communication math: E2 = 0.

Focus on what’s the most important thing. Usually, that is the thing with most profit potential. Positioning strategy is the shortcut to the buyer’s motive. It’s a way to get focused. The textbook definition is “positioning is a creative advertising strategy.”

By focusing on a message, we zoom through the customer’s mind filter. That’s a faster shortcut. The market position centers around market pain.

Early in my career I learned some fascinating things (the hard way) about questionnaires and focus groups.

People are strange.

If you ask someone how much they might pay for something, they always go low – or nothing. Unless they don’t care one bit, then they go high to make you feel happy.

I once was consulting for a company that sold a $19,000 tech product. They hadn’t had any sales for 6 months.

The owner was convinced if he lowered the product price, he’d sell the product to academics. So they sent out a questionnaire to universities and all the results came back saying the price was too high.

That was it. He decided to lower the price and increase sales.

I told him to wait.

He paid professional marketers money to have this questionnaire prepared and mailed. Sheesh!

So I investigated the customer list, and found academics never bought the product. The only people who did were federally-funded laser R&D laboratories – mainly contracted by the military. Half of his mail list were window shopping wannabees – and strange ones like Mary Kay Cosmetics, Blue Oyster Cult, Tinker Toys. The “laser scientist” who had been relegated to academic status had no money. Those who can’t do, teach.

So I checked. How much did universities labs have to spend? Secondary research revealed about $2,000 annual budget for equipment.

How much did federal laser R&D labs have? $40,000 per year – every stinkin’ year.

His product wasn’t too expense. It was too cheap.

I told him to raise the price. So we quickly introduced a new pseudo-product for $39,000, And immediately sold 3 unit by mail order.

This saved his company.

Never ask people their opinions if they don’t have skin in the game.

People often lie. Especially in focus groups. If they don’t have an opinion, they will make one up – rather than appear foolish for not knowing or not caring.

You asked your group how much they would pay for a newsletter.

No one wants to buy a newsletter. They want to buy solutions to problems. If you said, “I see you have a problem. How much would you pay me to solve this for you?” You’d get a different answer than if you ask would you like to read or buy a book I’ve written.

Ask instead “How much would you pay to learn how to make money like I do?”

Most people see newsletters as noise or spam. Until the day you write a gem that changes their life. Then suddenly you’re brilliant.

Also, let’s say you have a 30,000-piece mail list? How many of those do you think really love you? How many tolerate you? How many hate you?

According to old newsletter data, 10 percent of a market tolerates you and are interested. 4 percent of the 10 percent love you. They are fans.

From playing in a rock band, I can tell you every night after the gig, someone comes to the stage and say, “You suck.” If you listen to caustic critics, you’ll quit.

You can make a living from 1,000 true fans.

Give the true fans your newsletter for money. Give the rest a crippled teaser version.

Because of my life experience, values, and personality, I rarely pay for things. But I write about free plugins and themes and people pay me $69 to share that free information. Why? It saves them money, time, and makes their sites go faster (if the do my recommendations).

They didn’t come to my site to buy a book. Did you come to PagePipe because you whimsically said, “I feel like buying a book or newsletter today?”


But you left with books you paid for.