swarming, creating your new market that lasts – without throwing cash at advertising


neSome people just seem to have marketing in their blood, and most of them detest the word marketing. The ‘making or reaching of a market’ has gotten a bad name over the years. While it used to be so easy to reach a specific demographic, nowadays you’ll nee a multi-channel data and behaviour driven strategy to reach and persuade that one customer in the exact 5 seconds they have your attention. That’s hard. And if you compare it to a row of greek restaurants with owners standing outside to lure you in, these people have moved from ‘who can scream hardest’ to ‘who has the longest breath, trying to constantly whisper your way in there’.

And then there’s always that one restaurant a few blocks away in the apparent worst location in town, that’s always packed with people fuelled by a great atmosphere. I don’t think the owners worry about the same things as the greeks do. They worry, but i hope to explain that the greeks are worried about the wrong thing.

Connecting to the mesh versus advertising to reach demographics.

To understand how you will need to change your ‘making a market’, you need to understand the change of the market. The current transitional phase many economies find themselves comes from a very solid and controlled situation where pyramid shaped organisations ruled, and all systems where built to support them.

The current phase is all about turning around that pyramid to support creativity, to support change and to empower people to find their way to that new future.

A future that’s very likely to be less organised, very organic. The new organisation is just a very big group of loosely connected people, possibly forming a solid core. And the more you start organising this group, the less flexible, powerful and impactful it will be. This organisation – swarm – of people has a shorter-term purpose, is constantly in motion and changing it’s shape, the connections, the roles, it’s vision, the missions, operate from strong principals – because rule-based is too slow and fear-driven -, and then it might just split up, break apart and start working on a different vision.

find your swarms to connect to

In this world, there’s only 2 real ways to ‘make market’. Either there are already swarms of people that operate from shared vision and principals that you build your idea upon. So then the art of connecting and making friends within these swarms. Possibly you already have friends in the outer and looser circles of the swarms, or you just try to meet someone from the core. The core often exists of early-adopters and leaders, who have a big reach in their swarms, and know how to find the right people in the swarm that might also connect to your principals and ideas.

The funny thing is, you can’t fake or forse these connections. This only works if you are authentic about your strong passion and principals. The emotional bond that you will start from that connection will reach far and last long. Rational bonds only reach far when you either scream or have a very long breath and keep whispering your message continuously, and last long by an even longer breath. Both costing you a fortune in ‘costs of acquisition of your customer’, hopefully balancing out your ‘lifetime customer value’. most often these two don’t balance out, or they just do for a while until your innovation machine slows down because your organisation grows or your investors want short term returns and innovation is a long term investment. And even worse, rule-based organisations get caught up in political games, nobody dares to make a decision because ANY decision will always break a sub-sub-sub rule and you lose the comfort of your role within the organisation. So it sits very still until it collapses.

Build your own swarm

If there are no swarms to connect to yet – there aren’t any groups that share your vision and principles yet -, that’s where the fun starts. It’s up to you to be or find the early adopting leaders that share, co-create and co-design your vision together, a small core team forms with a shared ownership of the vision, principals and ideas – that are forever changing, don’t forget -. And then people will be pulled into the swarm, if it’s vision, principals, ideas and leaders are strong and attracting enough. If not, move on to your next idea or redo it with a different group of people. It takes WAY more energy in time to build this, but you end up being the happy restaurant who worries about the stuff people should worry about. You won’t be up at night calculating if you can hold your breath long enough to attract enough customers, but you’ll be up at night because one of your dear friends hasn’t come by for dinner in 2 weeks.

Organising this…

You may have this question on your mind right now: “My god, how am i going to organise a swarm like that.”. The answer is, you don’t. Allow for organic organisational models to form, of which the first experiments are found all over the internet under the term Holacracy – in my humble opinion this is our future -. Also, if you build it right – or let it come into existence – you won’t need to organise a thing. You just have to inspire, attract and involve. So the main question should be ‘How am i not going to organise all this?’..