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Ah, You Got Me… (The 4M framework)

Ketchup, chips, and chlorine.
Ketchup, chips, and…
Take any one of them away, and it wouldn’t be the same experience. That was the smell of the local Drexelbrook, PA pool when I was growing up. Technically, that’s called a lido, in British English.
Do you remember the kids game Marco-Polo? Usually played in a pool, one kid shuts their eyes and yells “Marco”. The rest of the cub-pack yell “Polo”. “Marco” “Polo””Polo””Polo””Polo” “Marco” “Polo””Polo””Polo””Polo” “Marco” “Polo””Polo””Polo””Pol-ah you got me” Based on sound and touch, “Marco” chases a “Polo”. Once touched, that “Polo” becomes a “Marco”. Touching anyone who isn’t playing doesn’t do anything, though.
Sculptural bust of traveler Marco Polo.
Photographer: Egor Myznik | Source: Unsplash
Named after a 13th century explorer, who bumbled his way in the dark from Europe to China (the center of all civilization at the time), the children’s game hooks into something primal. It keeps kids engaged for hours at a time. Marketer and designer Nathan Barry has previously pointed out that this game also serves as an analogy for call-response. Direct response, even. You only want to be chasing after the Polos, and avoiding everyone else in the pool. That’s my kind of marketing.
Yep, itโ€™s you I want…
The Marco-Polo analogy holds really well for what it’s like to enter a new market. You know there are people interested. You want to catch them, yet avoid everyone else. You just need to figure out how to reach the “Polos”. Speak to them. Hook into what interests them. There’s three more twists, though, compared to shouting “Marco” in a pool:
  1. You can use any medium you want to reach them, not just yelling at the top of your voice: advertising, free content, phone calls, events, or anything else.
  2. You can optimize what you say, not just “Marco”, to attract & identify the “Polos”.
  3. You can be really smart about choosing the first “Polos” you want to pursue.
This is exactly the situation you’re in, when launching a product. I call it medium-market-message match. The 4Ms. ๐Ÿ˜€
Choosing a channel and message and market can feel like choosing an elevator
Choosing media is an interesting game. Essentially, you’re tapping into other people’s existing audiences, and putting a message in front of them. Depending on how relevant that message is for that particular audience, more people will “convert”. And then you can be smart about who you actually go after. Pol-ah, you got me. And the best way of testing these combinations? Why, never thought you’d ask. Landing Page MVPs. There’s a good book on this topic called Launch Tomorrow. Arguably, I’m not the best person to judge that, since I wrote it. But I’m right anyway–this time. It goes into constructing constructing tests around the 4Ms. Put all of your ducks in a row. Catch the “polos” who are keen to hear what you have to say. Even better, build products which are popular with lots of “polos”.

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