Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Fox News and Your Target Market

The LA Times has an interesting opinion piece about Fox News' 10-year anniversary. I'll let you judge for yourself whether or not you feel the piece is biased, but regardless of your political persuasion, you should read the following paragraphs:

Fox's real ethos is not Republican but anti-elitist — a major reason it connects with so many Americans and annoys so many coastal elites. "There's a whole country that elitists will never acknowledge," Ailes once observed. "What people resent deeply out there are those in the 'blue states' thinking they're smarter."

This anti-elitism shows itself in Fox's pro-U.S. stance in covering the Afghanistan and Iraq wars and its broadcasters' use of terms such as "terrorist" instead of "militant" to refer to … well, terrorists. Since the Vietnam War era, mainstream journalists have tended to see such blunt language and side-taking as unsophisticated, a betrayal of journalistic objectivity.

Another aspect of Fox's anti-elitism: Christians, far from being seen as lunatics or curiosities — as too often is the case in the mainstream media — actually get some respect.

The first marketing lesson to draw from all this is simple:
Market to your customers based on how they view the world, not how you think they should view the world.

The second is a little subtler, but is still valuable:
Find a market where customers feel disrespected by mainstream practices and cater to those disaffecteds. There's gold in them thar hills.

An great anti-example is the RIAA. Their customers don't think that downloading music is stealing. It doesn't matter how many PSAs they run or how many 8-year-olds they sue, they are not going to chang their minds.

This provides a great opportunity for new entrants to offer free music (either free as in beer, or DRM-free) and find other ways to make a buck.

I feel for the RIAA (well, sort of). People are breaking the law and destroying their business model. But guess what? You're better off accepting reality for what it is than closing your eyes and hoping for a change.

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