Apparently, the Baseball World Series begins tomorrow. I had to go to the Web to learn which teams are playing this year – it’s the Diamondbacks vs. the Rangers. But wait… Rangers? I thought they were New York’s Hockey team.
We’re long past the point when large populations focused on the same thing, like the World Series.
In the USA, we used to have three broadcast television networks. According to Poynter, in 1980 more than 42 million people would watch the evening news, nearly a quarter of the American population. It was common for 25 to 30 million viewers to tune in to watch just one, Walter Cronkite on CBS, the so-called “most trusted man in America.”
Advertising on those three networks would reach huge numbers of people. Something like the World Series might be watched by half of Americans.
The mass market and marketing programs targeted to the masses are over for good. There aren’t good ways to reach large numbers of average people.
Fox News, the most watched cable news network in the United States today, gets about 2 million prime time viewers. That’s less than two percent of the current population.
Millions of online niche channels
While mass has disappeared, people dig in deep to the things they love. They become devoted fans of artists and organizations and companies, associating with like-minded people both online and in-person.
While I don’t care about professional sports or watch television news, I do have many things that I love including going to live music shows, surfing, hiking, camping, and the Apollo lunar program.
And for each of the things I love to do, there are people, companies, and organizations I follow. There are bloggers, YouTube channels, Facebook groups, and company websites that I focus on to learn and to be part of communities.
For nearly every market, there are niche channels on social networks like Facebook, TikTok, and LinkedIn. That’s how you reach the right people, becoming important to the small number of people who care about what you do.
Marketers who understand fandom and how to reach niche audiences are way more successful than those who use the mass marketing techniques of the past.