Turning complexity into clarity.

There are moon bases on the dark side of the Moon!

Well, not really. But the dark side of the moon-- is unknown to us. We look at the moon almost every night but we never see the dark side of the moon. The same is true with the world of audiences and niches.

The Dark Side of the MoonLast month, we went to this special event. I live in a small town (less than 300,000 people) and after a while you get to know alot of the faces-- maybe you'll never talk to these people, but you know what they look like-- they're locals. This special event involved a demographic I never hang with: Sportos. It was like I had gone to another city. I was used to the migration patterns of my "flock"-- how they behaved, what events they frequented, et cetera. These people behaved differently: they had interests and practices different from mine. For all intents and purposes, they lived on the dark side of the Moon.

When you say, "I don't have any good ideas" or "No one will go for this." I have to counter with "BS!" You don't need a new idea. You don't need to worry if your idea is mined out. You just need a potential audience bigger than what your product could satisfy.

"Bigger" is important because you want to sell to everyone who could partake of your product. If you're a landscaper who takes 1 hr. to mow a lawn, you want there to be at least 40 clients you visit a week. Say, you have a book about selling your polymer clay on Etsy and it took 1000 hrs. to write. If it retails for $10/copy (digital download), your audience need to be bigger than 1000 readers/buyers otherwise you would have been smarter working at 7-11 rather than scribing about Sculpey.

To find your audience, take an expedition to the dark side of the Moon. Look for unfamiliar demographics-- those that exist out there that you don't know about yet. Maybe they need your product because it's cool and new to them. Maybe they need your product in a form that you think no one is buying any more.

Here's an example from the dark side of the Moon. A friend of a friend (I do know him and we're cordial, but we don't hang out-- he isn't that friend-of-a-friend who was handcuffed in a Batman outfit-- this guy exists). For the last decade has been doing direct mail. His schtick is to sell information on lotteries. He has someone assemble a catalog. He has someone else maintain the mailing list. And he has a service slip the catalogs into envelopes, label them, post them and ship them off. Books of information about lotteries. He doesn't sell lottery tickets-- not in the past or the future. Still, he has a loyal following of people who want to get information via the mail about lotteries.

His business breaks my brain. Who would buy this? Why isn't there a website to show off the information. The reason is because there's an audience large enough to satisfy his business model. They opt-- for whatever reason-- to get this information via snail mail and they pay for the privilege. I don't know a single person who would buy this product. Clearly, they live on the dark side of the Moon.

Twitter is an example of matching a product to fit an untapped audience. I hate texting (fat fingers + small keys = frustration). I'm not alone-- a lot of people couldn't get into the idea of writing on a teeny keypad. Enter Twitter: there is no technical limitation inside of Twitter that hems posts into 140 characters, but it is a sweet spot of how much you're willing to fumble with the keypad before you're pissed off. They made a product to match people who both had 140 characters of tolerance and a 140 character cap in their phone messages. The product, Twitter, has leveled the playing field for l33ts and grandpas alike.

You need to see if there is a moon colony needing what you want to sell. Maybe your product can be repackaged or re-marketed to that audience.

Homework Assignment: Don your Pith Helmet Spacesuit

You need to travel to the dark side of the Moon. Travel incognito: trucker hat for the trucker hat crowd; bring kids to a family event; curb the profanity for the clean-cut crowd; et cetera. Go to an outing that you wouldn't usually go to. Eavesdrop-- in a benevolent way. Listen to the background chatter of what people are talking about; what interests them; what vexes them. Do you have a product that could be geared to this audience?