Friday, November 20, 2009

There is no mass market

I sometimes take a perverse pride in completely missing things that are going on in popular culture. For example, back in the 1980s I was looking at a TV Guide article that talked about the immense popularity of Michael J. Fox. "Family Ties" had been on the air for about a year at that point, but I had no idea who this Michael J. Fox guy was.

This persists even today. On my desk at work, you can currently find a plastic cup that I got from Burger King when I bought an iced tea one day. The cup includes a picture of two guys and a girl - sorry, no pizza place - along with some scripted text that says

the twilight saga
new moon

Now I've heard that "Twilight" is a big deal, and have even seen some complaints that NTN Buzztime has completely succumbed to "Twilight" trivia, but I honestly could not tell you the first thing about "Twilight."

Now, I could tell you about various technical services such as Twitter and Facebook, and probably many of my readers are familiar with these services, but here's a stat for you - while you may think that everyone is on Facebook, the truth is that billions and billions of people are NOT on Facebook. And I'd be willing to bet that there are probably over a billion people who have never even HEARD of Facebook.

Perhaps that's an unfair example, since the world is a pretty big place. Let me limit things to my home country of the United States. While it's not technically correct, I have advanced the claim that the two biggest holidays in this country are Halloween and Super Bowl Sunday. And we all know that everybody in the United States watches the Super Bowl, don't we? Not exactly. According to, Super Bowl XLIII was watched by over 98 million viewers - which means that two-thirds of the estimated 300 million Americans didn't see the game.

The point? If you think that you can address the mass market, think again. At best, you're only going to address a small segment.
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