“It’s a numbers game.” I bet you’ve heard that phrase more than once in your life. You’ve heard it to explain sales and marketing or job hunting, or maybe you’ve heard an alpha male say it to explain dating strategy.

If you get your message in front of enough people and if you convert enough of them into sales, you win the numbers game.

Nigerians with internet access and mass marketers play the numbers game. But unless you are spamming people or selling toilet paper, it won’t help you think about how to market effectively. Number’s game thinking leads to running commercials like this over and over.

That’s cute and all, but this approach is irrelevant for most businesses today. So just what sort of game is marketing? It’s a people game. Here is how you play the people game:

  1. Reach the people who care most about what you have to say
  2. Have something remarkable to say to those people
  3. Make sure your message leads to sales somehow

Reaching ten people who care enough about your business to tell ten other people who care, is far more productive than reaching a million who couldn’t care less.

Uno is a numbers game. Marketing is a people game.


  1. How do you find the people that care about you when you first start?
    I think it’s more important to find people who are willing and able to pay.
    Not the same group of people, I think. Especially for a new startup.

    Mehul Kar
    10/31/10 at 5:52 pm
  2. You bring up an interesting point. Usually the people who care enough to spread your message are also the people who pay, but not always. The people who pay Facebook are advertisers, but the people who care are the users. You need both kinds of people. How do you find them? Be creative, work hard, take risks, ask questions, experiment or get lucky. That’s not an exhaustive list, but it’s a good start :)

    11/01/10 at 5:11 pm

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