“The world is full of research firms who charge by the pound. The more questions, no matter how abstract or useless, the more they can charge. Who Buys Your Stuff is different. It focuses on profiling your online customers in a simple, but powerful way.”

- Al Ries, author of the 22 Immutable Laws of Branding

With the help of parents, between us, we’ve probably spent over the course of nine years in university - somewhere around 100K. Ironically enough and I’m not knocking academia, but for me, I have built my career on life experiences and a book I bought for £12 from Amazon.

Anyone trying to build a business really wants to read it, Tim Ferris, “Sillicon Valley’s Superman”, mentions it in one of his podcasts, whilst interviewing Kevin Rose (Co-founder of Digg), as a top 5 must-read book. 

The book is the 22 Immutable Laws of Branding, you can get it HERE - do it now, if you express deliver it with Amazon, you could be done reading it by this time next week - #stepitup.

Now, I’d like to connect some fairly tenuous dots here - but hang with me, they’re really good ones. 

They may just listen

There are people building rocket ships and electrical cars that are going to change the world. There are people that are working on life extension, extending our 60, to 100yrs old, and there are people curing diseases that once crippled humans - incredible shit is happening all around us. Some of these people doing incredible things, with incredible access to audiences and bandwidth, if they knew what you were trying to do, they may just listen to you, they may just back you like a trainer does a horse. If you’re running a business and you want it to achieve something in the future, extend an arm out to absolute long shots, the people you think could help you get to that goal - you never know, they may just listen. Gregor and I have got to say thanks to everyone backing this thing and thank you especially to Al Ries for the mentoring and endorsement #champion.

Know your category

People buy categories first and brands second - period (thank you again Al). We took this approach when building Finisterre, we went hard for the category of cold water surfing and if anyone thought about cold water surfing, talked about it, wanted to do it, they would think about Finisterre. Know your business/brand’s category and make sure you promote it, because customers buy categories first and brands second - we build on this concept HERE.

Know who you’re doing it for

Above all else and this should be every brands starting point, know who’s going to actually buy your stuff, and even better, if you’re an online business, use the data you’re sitting on, reach out to them and get to know them - and build clear quantifiable profiles of the people who are actually driving your business. Flip side, If you’re a business and you’re building things around an assumption, a thought, a demographic spanning 20 years (25 - 45yrs), you are going to be way off, you’re going to struggle, success will not come easy and for many, it won’t come at all.

Let me give you a quick example about how important knowing who buys your stuff is. 

Just recently we sat down with a pretty incredible brand. We asked them to give us the run down - who’s your customer, what category are you in, what does everyone do within the business? Although the responses were anything but focused regarding the customer and category, the thing that later stood out to Gregor and I most, was a hire he had just made.

He had told us that ‘he needed to raise the brands social media offering within the business’ and so he recruited a guy, put him on 26k, to do just that. Here’s the kicker, he assumed that improving his social game was important to growing his business. Well we did the customer work and found that the customers driving his business are between 40 and 45 and have never used pinterest/instagram/snapchat - use twitter sparingly and are big on Facebook. 

So instead of hiring an intern, fresh out of university for 3 months to focus on Facebook and twitter and if all goes well, would extend the work into a part time roll, for let’s say 12K a year, they have instead….

increased overheads, had more management pressures over the year with an added member of staff, the person he’s hired is going to be doing work that is not intended for the customer that drives the business and he’s probably going to indirectly water down the brands focus. 

Here’s the point, do the work, find out who buys your stuff, so you can better market to them and build products for them - common sense. Once you do this, figure out your category and after this start reaching out to the long shots - someone will listen. 

Further reading/listening:

1) 22 Immutable Laws of Branding - get it HERE

2) Tim Ferris Podcast with Kevin Rose, mentioning the 22 Immutable Laws of Branding - HERE