Thursday, December 10, 2009

My inner math geek mucks up business metaphors

I Told You, Im good in Math. ;D
Image by Beni Ishaque Luthor via Flickr
My inner math geek squirms a bit each time I pass along this equation:

CwF + RtB = $$

That's inspired by Trent Reznor from Nine Inch Nails and simplified to the above by Mike Masnick of TechDirt. It describes the approach Nine Inch Nails is taking to marketing and business in the hyper-connected world. A world where -- at least for creatives -- fans are finding ways to bypass the big labels and houses for their purchases. And for many, it's working. But back to my inner squirming.

The equation isn't mathematically sound1. CwF means Connect with Fans. It's not a hard value, but it does represent the whuffie your business2 has built up with your key consumers over time. It doesn't happen overnight. It's more than just having a blog. And it's different for every single business out there, so stop trying to duplicate and start trying to learn and apply.

RtB is a Reason to Buy. It starts with an opportunity to buy. Examine the purchasing process from the eyes of a customer. Do you have more than one? Do you have your products and services in every venue where you customers might what to buy? But it doesn't end there. You have to give people a reason to buy. Price can be a reason, but only if I want it. And then only if you're the cheapest. Reasons are different for every business, so take my same advice on resisting the urge to copy. Apply instead.

Both CwF and RtB are worthy topics that require deep dives on their own. This short blog post won't do it. And I want to get back to my mathematical squirming.

In reality, neither one of the two variables can be zero. If you never connect with your fans, the fantastic reasons to buy won't make you any money. Or if you relentlessly connect but never give an opportunity or reason to purchase, you won't make any money. And that's my problem with the equation.

I think CwF * RtB = $$ is better, though I'm not sure if the data would support it. And now I'm going way too far in the weeds with this, so I'll stop now before I have to break out a Calculus book.

How are you connecting with fans and giving them a reason to buy?

1 - Yes, I know it's just a metaphor and I should just relax. But you obviously don't know me.

2 - When I say business, I mean business. If you're selling something (note the $$ at the end of the equation), then you are in business. Not a big one, but it's business.

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