You may not think you have anything in common with rap legend, Percy Miller, also known as, Master P. He is the born and bred New Orleans rapper that launched No Limit Records in the 1990s that released a staggering 23 albums in 1998 alone, sold 15 million copies, and earned $160 million during the label’s heyday.
However, if you’re reading articles on marketing, then your either an entrepreneur that is in need of marketing magic or you are dreaming of being an entrepreneur who knows that one day you’ll bite the biz bullet. You’re getting your MBA in these internet streets now. “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity,” said every CEO during their interview with Entrepreneur magazine.
With that being said you are exactly where Master P once was. Trying to make a dream a reality.
So here’s some inspiration and guidance for you from the 5th richest rapper of all time.
Identify EXACTLY who your PEOPLE are from day one.
You’re “people” are your ideal clients or customers who have a specific problem that you can efficiently solve for them. Marketing and to a degree, selling, is simply just sharing solutions to pesky problems to your target audience on a regular basis.
Master P put New Orleans rap on the map by giving other New Orleans rappers a chance, developing a very New Orleans sound, and taking that music directly to the streets of New Orleans.
He capitalized on a hole in the market and gave the “people” what they needed. He was able to do so because at the time rap was dominated by the West Coast and the East Coast. No one was even thinking about New Orleans, not nationally and barely even locally.
Master P knew that New Orleans was his gold mansion ticket to success. He’s a man full of great pride for his hometown. He perfected a style that New Orleans could claim as their own.
He made sure his artist’s records got into the hands of locals easily and consistently.
No Limit Records was a branding machine due to Master P’s strategic marketing in this region of the country that had long been overlooked.
His savvy in this arena circles back to my quick definition of marketing.
Master P identified a problem = New Orleans having practically a non-existent presence in rap music.
Master P provided a solution to that problem = producing New Orleans-based rap artists with a New Orleans sound to be beloved by the citizens of New Orleans and promoting this solution day in, and day out.
If you were sitting across from me right now, I’m sure you’d tell me that you know your target audience and that you’re marketing to them.
To that I would ask:
Have you developed a well researched and rounded out customer or client persona for your target audience?
How often do you speak directly to your target audience?
Where is the gaping hole in the market that you without a doubt serve?
What are the specific challenges that your target audience confesses to you when you engage with them?
After working with numerous small business owners as a copywriter and marketing consultant over the years, I can tell you that most don’t have solid answers to the above.
It’s easy to live in your head when you’re an entrepreneur. You feel that just because you have a website and an Instagram account your doing everything right. That you’re nailing it every time you send out a newsletter, write a blog post, or make an Instagram story sharing your latest promotion.
But then one day reality sits in (which may be today) and you realize that all your efforts are not leading to consistent clicks, connections, and ultimately more cash.
What trips many of us up as entrepreneurs is that we’re often too ambiguous about our target market.
A personal chef for busy families in Chicago. WEAK. A personal chef that provides plant-based full-service meal prep for busy west side Chicago families. STRONG.
My ideal client is a senior citizen who wants to stay in shape.
Try this for a client persona:
Regina is 70 years old who has osteoporosis that desires to tone her body and get stronger bones in order to better manage her condition.
Once you iron out your client or customer persona you need to begin talking directly to them every day. Share your solutions with them in your weekly (not monthly) newsletters. Ask them what they need in order to spark authentic engagement. Tweet and tag them consistently. Run Facebook and Instagram ads that touch on their emotional triggers. Provide a solution that they must get from you, and only you.
Knowing exactly who your people are decreases the time you’ll spend throwing spaghetti on a wall and seeing what sticks.
Remember, if you’re talking to everyone, you're really talking to no one.
Master P mastered (pun intended) the customer persona approach from the very beginning of his dominance as a New Orleans-based rap mogul. He once said, “once you develop an audience, you take everything you’ve got and milk it.”
This marketing blueprint set a foundation for the Master P brand. More than twenty years later he is still capitalizing off of the initial success of No Limit Records. He’s currently set to acquire a significant ownership stake in athletic apparel juggernaut, Reebok while growing his real estate investment firm and very successful film production company.
“Once you develop an audience, you take everything you’ve got and milk it.” — Master P
As you move forward this year during your entrepreneurship journey, when your feeling stuck on how to market your solutions to your target audience, just ask yourself: what would Master P do?
Cholia “CJ” Johnson is a culture journalist and direct marketing copywriter who dips her toes in digital marketing consulting for clients in the social entrepreneurship and non-profit space. She loves hip-hop, chocolate donuts, and running long-distances. Follow her on Twitter.