People pay a lot of money for the chance to change. Often they pay for a chance to place the blame on another party because they were unwilling to change (ie: that diet program didn't work). A large part of the reason why so many prescription drugs are popular is because drug sales pitches convince us that we can change without actually changing, though that is rarely the case. Typically the side effects are just suppressed or played down.
In much the same way that people think a drug will make things better, we are constantly pushed value systems which make us think things like:
- I am too fat. If I weighed 20 pounds less I would be happier.
- I am too poor. If I just had more money everything would work out.
- I am too lonely. If I just had someone that loved me maybe life would make sense.
- I am too shy. If I just had more confidence and talked to more people I could figure life out.
Part of the reason self help programs from people who suffered from the same problem work so well is that they are easy to identify with. The more people believe you felt their struggle or pain the more they will believe that you can help them get past it.
A large part of the reasons that many of these programs never lead to happiness is that they solve symptoms instead of problems. Many of them focus on what not to do, instead of what you should do. Inadequacy is just part of being human, but many companies create products or services which claim cure us of the flaws of being. When we buy into these systems, we are not just buying into the product / program / service, but we are buying into the pot of gold at the other end of the rainbow. The belief that things can be different and better, and the sense of relief that brings. Wherever there is a real or manufactured sense of inadequacy there is a large targeted market.
People trying to change social classes and win approval of established members of their community are also likely to pick up the domain specific language and symbols better because they will feel that learning it is an important sign of sophistication. If you can create things which people new to your industry would consider vital (rules, standards, regulations, ethical guidelines, etc.) naive people will push them until they realize the purpose of them. For example, at one point in time I was sucker enough to proudly display someone else's code of ethics on my site until I realized that all it showed was that I was a sucker ignorant to marketing and my market.
What do you do that makes people feel validated in their quest to change or be validated? How easy is it to identify with your position and spread your way of thinking? Do your customers outgrow that feeling? What do you do next?
If your business model solves problems but is financially inferior to business models that solve symptoms how do you get past that?
What are the most radically worldview changing or inspirational things you have ever done?
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