Love Losing Control: 1000 True Fans and Marketing 2.0

Self-employed in publishing

There is a theory stating that 1000 True Fans are all a person needs to make a living from their own products. Whether you’re selling books, songs, music or paintings, having 1000 True Fans who are willing to spend about £30 per year on your products will keep you afloat. It may sound unlikely, and according to the anecdotes it’s a pretty hard road, but it is possible.

What’s more, the theory is equally applicable to businesses and companies: for every extra person involved, simply add another 1000 True Fans to the total that you need.

But why does this theory work? And why is it becoming more popular?

Marketing 2.0 – do you love it yet?

The internet has opened up the world of production in ways which were unimaginable even a decade ago: it is easier, cheaper and faster to publish a product than it ever has been before. It has created vast new pool of potential producers, resulting in a flood of new products all vying for attention – but unfortunately, nobody’s listening any more!

It is no longer enough to come up with imaginative ways to say ‘buy this product’. Indeed, not only do you need to have a great, high-quality product at the center of your business, but in order to sell it you have to introduce it to the consumer in a way which makes the individual feel human, seen and appreciated. One of the best ways to achieve this is by turning your product into a social object so that it can be used to communicate directly with the consumer.

The new trend encourages genuine passion from its marketers, using love to make the wheels of commerce go round. The theory of 1000 True Fans fits in perfectly with this: love your product, love your fans and, hopefully, they’ll love you back.

Doing the maths in the 21st century

The other reason the theory of 1000 True Fans is becoming more popular is that is aligns with a set of new 21st-century economic ideals that are growing in popularity. After the 2008 market crash, the world economy looked pretty grim. While some recovery has been made, many economists, politicians and businessmen warn that another crash is unavoidable unless we fundamentally change the way we think about money. Over-consumption and artificially cheap production aren’t sustainable and, worse, they aren’t getting through to consumers either.

The businesses that are surviving best in this environment tend to be the ones who are focused on innovation, communication, or selling something they’re passionate about. They aren’t simply trying to sustain a conveyor-belt macro-business that belongs in the past; they’re aiming at invention. Those following the theory of 1000 True Fans do a similar thing. Instead of trying to dominate the market, they’re building a niche for themselves on- and off-line, a strategy far more likely to succeed in the coming years than unwieldy attempts at domination.

Enough is enough

Ultimately, those following the model of 1000 True Fans are relinquishing the idea that they can control the entire market, or their consumers. They’re using 21st-century economics and communication methods to create sustainable companies that support the business, its workers and the product, but shy away from aiming at more. By demonstrating genuine passion and selling a quality product, the theory can work in practice, provided its proponents are happy to say enough is – well – enough.

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