A bunch of articles about the ‘Joshua Bell’ stunt drove me crazy a few years back.
They were about the media’s doom and gloom pronouncements about the “common people’s” taste in music.
In Washington D.C., 2007, Joshua Bell busked outside a subway metro station with his violin.
Unannounced, the world famous virtuoso played some classical music…
… and the media jumped on what DIDN’T happen next.
There was no sudden rapture.
No frozen people stunned by the world-class heavenly playing.
No sudden conversions to the transcendence of classical music.
(I’m a classical pianist, and cheesy scenes like that make even me cringe.)
Most people just walked past, preoccupied with their own lives.
They didn’t care.
Some reported the stunt as proof that people just don’t appreciate fine art.
But more understanding articles took a different theme.
They said it shows the importance of presentation… context… marketing… etc.
Without the set-up of a concert hall, people just couldn’t appreciate the music as much.
I’m sure that’s true.
But I think those articles missed an even bigger issue.
It’s about the right audience.
Even when classical music musters all the glitz and glamour it can…
… that’s still not enough to change some people’s minds.
Yes, Joshua Bell’s incognito performance might have got more attention with more fanfare.
But many people still wouldn’t have cared.
There’s no way all 1,097 people who passed by Joshua Bell harboured a dormant interest in classical music.
(Yes, they specifically counted all 1,097.)
The big problem wasn’t in the context, quality, or the presentation.
It was simply the wrong market to reach out to.
Direct response legend Brian Kurtz had something called the 40/40/20 Rule.
When it comes to marketing success…
… 40% depends on the offer quality…
… 40% depends on the audience match…
… and only 20% depends on the copy.
What this means is that even with Joshua’s high quality performance (offer)… and a better presentation (copy)…
… Lots of passersby (audience) still would not have cared.
They were the WRONG audience.
Let’s see what happens when you reach the RIGHT audience.
Fast forward to 2014…
Joshua Bell returned to the subway for another performance.
But this time, the media announced it beforehand.
For this performance, the station was packed.
Do you think these people were just passing by? Or needed an incredible marketing campaign to show up?
I doubt it.
I think most ALREADY loved what Joshua Bell had to offer.
THAT is the right audience to go for.
People that are a great match for your product.
Ones who you KNOW will love it.
Not just a random passerby at a metro station.
So here’s a parting question: