Target Marketing and Value Perception will Get You Better Customers who Appreciate You
. . Something to Think About . . .
In Washington , DC , at a Metro Station, on a cold January morning in 2007, this man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, approximately 2,000 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. After about 3 minutes, a middle-aged man noticed that there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds, and then he hurried on to meet his schedule.
About 4 minutes later:
The violinist received his first dollar. A woman threw money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk.
At 6 minutes:
A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.
At 10 minutes:
A 3-year old boy stopped, but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head the whole time. This action was repeated by several other children, but every parent – without exception – forced their children to move on quickly.
At 45 minutes:
The musician played continuously. Only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while. About 20 gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace. The man collected a total of $32.
After 1 hour:
He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed and no one applauded. There was no recognition at all.
No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days before, Joshua Bell sold-out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100 each to sit and listen to him play the same music.
This is a true story. Joshua Bell, playing incognito in the D.C. Metro Station, was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people’s priorities.
This is a great lesson in Target Marketing vs. broad based marketing. If you are plastering your product, service or advertising message everywhere you can to get as much visibility as possible from the buying public… then you may be wasting your valuable time, money and resources.
Consider this example with Joshua Bell. He sold out a theatre in Boston. The seats were filled with targeted customers who liked his style of music and appreciated his mastery. They came specifically to see him. In this crowd he had a captivated audience. And he was well paid for the gig.
In the D,C, Metro station, he was surrounded by the general public too busy to stop and appreciated his music. They had a variety of musical tastes and preferences. The crowd was untargeted to his style of music and therefore he was mostly ignored.
Now consider your business marketing. Are you advertising to “Boston Theatre” people who will appreciate you… or are you standing in the D.C. Metro hoping someone will notice you?
This experiment also raised several other questions:
*In a common-place environment, at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty?
*If so, do we stop to appreciate it?
*Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?
One of many conclusions reached from this experiment is this:
If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made . . ..
Knowing that is a real human condition, how much business are you missing through un-targeted advertising?
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All my best,
Daniel Sweet, Owner of Sweet Marketing Solutions
Target Marketing and Value Perception Specialists