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What Gilmore Girls Teaches About Expanding Your Target Audience

Okay I have to admit, I know nothing about Gilmore Girls. Heard of it in passing sometime in a past life, but I literally know nothing about it. Best I could come up with was flashes of a TV show that resembled Seventh Heaven (which was the bomb by the way). It was time for a little research.

Thank goodness for Wikipedia, right?

Anywho, the reason for all this came from an article I read on Military Spouse.com: “U.S. Marines Say “Gilmore Girls” Offered “Escapism” From Times of War.” Read it. It’s good.

What got my brain clicking, however, was the realization that this show clearly written for a female audience was resonating with some of the toughest hombres in the world.  These men were U.S. Marines, sniper unit combatants, and they were running back to barracks after ducking bullets and bombs to watch a fictional story about fictional family relationships in a fictional town. Reading the article I couldn’t stop thinking:

By God and Rambo…why?

And then it hit me. Just like I warn in my Guide to Finding Your True Target Audience, you’ve got to understand your own true product.  You have to look deeper than the surface of what you say you provide to what you actually provide in order to reach the full potential of your business.  I, like most men (and women), only scratch the surface of what Gilmore Girls provided. Most see a women-centric drama and turn away if you don’t fit that mold. But Gilmore Girls wasn’t just drama. Not to these marines.  To warriors living on the razor’s edge of life and death, who deal with a life most won’t with danger and hardness all around them, Gilmore Girl’s was an idealized vision of normalcy. It was an innocent place their duties were protecting. A place unlike the realities they might catch on social media where cops and civilians shoot each other, where politics end in broken relationships and churches burn to the ground.

In their words, it provided an escape. That is the Gilmore Girl product.

And when framed in that light, Gilmore Girls executives saw a new target audience. A new tribe. Not women, though that remains there primary focus.  But people needing a release from reality. People who need a dose of the idealized society they present.  When contacted by those Marines, Gilmore Girl’s executives jumped at the chance, establishing relationships with these men, showering them with gifts. I believe it was for two reasons.  One, they were excited and supportive of our troops. I genuinely believe that.

But I think another reason is, when you have an opportunity to form a new tribe, with a different influence, you treat those ambassadors well. No one, troop nor civilian, would question the machismo of these frontline snipers. Their endorsement of a show thought primarily to cater to women has immediate legitimacy to a previously untouchable group; military men. Show producers would be stupid not to pursue them.

In the context of your own business or marketing, you have to remember that your marketing is meant to build tribes that will consume your products or service.  Your marketing is meant to increase your exposure.  When you look past the surface of what your product or service is and instead bring what they ‘do’ into focus, you may find opportunities you missed before. You may find you affect more people than you think.

And that’s always good for business.

Take a closer look at your business. Are there other avenues and audiences that might be worth your time investing in? Let me know what you find. See ya’ later guys.