Who Are Your People?

Local entrepreneur and innovator Bill Warner is an important resource for startups in the Boston market.  He blogs, tweets and speaks on topics of interest to the young startups.  One of Bill Warner’s queries from his presentation about How to Build Your Startup from the Heart has taken on new meaning for me lately.  One of the questions he asks is “Who are your people —  the people for whom you invent or create?”

Bill’s point when he asks this question is to get you to focus your company on solving a problem or offering a service that solves a problem for a specific community.  From a marketing point of view, this focus allows you to cost-effectively market to a specific community.  (I.e. if I have to pay to reach multiple communities, I’ll quickly run out of budgeted marketing dollars.)

Even though I frequently help people answer this question for PR and marketing plans and programs, this target market orientation is one I have difficulty answering for Innovation Nights (my other company) — “my people” could be entrepreneurs, product marketers and PR people, innovation hunters, or social media mavens.  The Innovation Nights model serves them all.  When we created the event, the idea was to create a win-win scenario for everyone:

  • Entrepreneurs and startups —  low (no) cost ways to get visibility for their new products and companies.
  • Medium-sized and larger companies — connect with the social media world, grow their own networks
  • Product managers and innovators — see what else is going on in the world (perhaps the world outside their own industry), to get inspired by the innovation of others
  • PR people — provide clients with visibility and entry to the social media world, demonstrate their own social media savvy (and, if they are located outside the Boston-area) perhaps using Innovation Nights to support their local community of innovators and new product owners.
  • Social Media Mavens — build visibility and traffic for their websites, blogs, online communities, build followers
  • Innovation-lovers — a view to the latest new products and services
  • Service-providers — the Experts Corner confers credibility and visibility for service providers who focus on this arena.
  • The locations or hosts — foot traffic and visibility

If you are putting together a marketing or a business plan, have you thought about who your people are?  And have you run into a situation where your product or service actively targets more than one community?  What happens when you have more than one people?