Are we on the same page?

When someone asks if you’re on the same page as they are, you might very well think you are. But, it’s important to remember that my page is different from your page. Your page is different from your boss’s page. Your spouse’s page is also different from your page. Your idea of your customer’s page is different from their actual page.

Sometimes we want to believe we’re all on the same page, and we’ve got a similar understanding of things. The thing is, every page is a bit different.

And every page is written by a unique set of eyes. Each set of eyes writes their own page based on their own unique perception of reality.

When I tell you that the chicken crossed the road, your chicken and your road, are different from my chicken and my road. This is what James Newman referred to as your personal and unique “reality structure.”

Of course, different strokes for different folks. While every single person sees the world a bit differently, in what we’re referring to as reality structure, different groups of people can share similar worldviews.

As Seth Godin says, “Some people hear a politician say something and hate it, while others are thrilled by it. Is it the thing that was said or the person who said it? Some people hear that Apple is about to launch a new product and they get out their wallets; others flee–before they even know what it is. If you don’t understand the worldview of the people you’re selling to, you will fail.

And this, my friends, is the point of all marketing. Don’t wave your hands like a crazy person trying to get everyone under the sun to pay attention. The easiest, and most reliable, route is to speak to people who share the same worldviews. That’s the first key.

Have you ever heard someone in business ask someone, “Who’s your target market?” and the person responds, “Everyone and anyone.”

Wrong. Not everyone will love bacon flavored ice cream. Your target market is only to those where your product or service speaks to their specific worldviews. That’s the second key.

The third key, in my opinion, is the most important. It’s realizing that success will come a helluva lot easier when you start ignoring the wrong people and focusing on the right people. This is the hard part. You may need to piss a few people off along the way. The trade-off is that if you do it right, those who share the same worldviews will never let you down.

And if you want proof of this, look no further than Apple. The iPhone 4 has been a total bust. It’s riddled with problems. The antenna is messed up. It’s dropping calls left and right. Consumer Reports gave it two big thumbs down.

Now go try to find one in stock.

P.S. Here’s the kicker though. Apple has no choice but to make this right. Our reality structures are nearly impossible to change, but our worldviews can be shifted more readily.

Again, if you need proof of this, look no further than Apple (again). Consider all the people you know who said they’d never own a MacBook, or an iPod, or an iPhone, or an iMac…..They once belonged to the group who shared a similar worldview of Microsoft, and that worldview changed.