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The Mainstream Has Become a Sideshow

The “mainstream” has been so diffused that it is no longer truly existent!

Never fails. At meetings of speakers or authors, those just getting started in these endeavors ask me if I could give them insight into what it takes to become successful.

It’s a question that always kind of takes my breath away a bit. It always seems to me that I have so far yet to go, I don’t know why I’m being asked. Yet, at the same time, I’m truly appreciative and humbled that someone would feel that I could provide them some degree of direction.

Previously here on McKain Viewpoint, I’ve mentioned my favorite blogger, Bob Lefsetz. Today, he did it again. He had a phrase on a post that I just could not get out of my mind.

Here it is: “Do you really think the mainstream counts? The mainstream has become a sideshow!”

While Bob writes chiefly about the music industry, roll that one around in your head for a bit…the mainstream has become a sideshow!

Here’s Lefsetz’s reasoning: “The only people who have not caught on are those in the mainstream media, flogging each other’s products like they truly matter. NBC is putting Jay Leno on in prime time and can make money and will be satisfied with a 1.5 rating — which is fewer than 2 million households!”

And…as usual…he’s right about everything.

The “mainstream” has been so diffused that it is no longer truly existent! Think about this for a moment — the ratings that “ER” used to get every single week are now attained only by the Super Bowl!

What does this mean for you?

It means that if you want to become successful, you can never become all things to all people. The day of products and services that are relevant across the board are practically extinct.

I had a preview of this several years ago when I was starting in the speaking business. I sent a mailing to every state School Boards Association executive in the nation promoting my speeches. It was exciting to receive a call from the executive director of the Pennsylvania association — until he asked a powerful question: “What was the response when you spoke for the Indiana School Boards Association?”

I had to confess that I had never addressed that group. He asked me, “Well, if you aren’t speaking in your home state, why should we bring you out here to speak to us?

And, he was right!

Start by building what Ken Blanchard calls “Raving Fans” at home. And, bear in mind that in today’s world, “at home” might be mean something different that just a few short years ago. Your “home” may be a devoted team of Twitter followers, Facebook friends, and blog subscribers.

It’s a trite phrase, but it has never been more true than at this point in time: It’s better to be a big fish in a small pond.

If you want to be successful, begin by being so good that those with whom you are in the closest contact cannot wait to recommend you to their friends and grow your circle.

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More Stories By Scott McKain

Scott McKain is a business leader, bestselling author, and Hall of Fame professional speaker.
Scott's latest book, "The Collapse of Distinction: Stand Out and Move Up While Your Competition Fails" reached the #1 spot on Amazon.com list of Customer Service Bestsellers! He is the author of two #1 additional business bestsellers (Amazon.com & 800-CEO-READ): "What Customers REALLY Want" (currently available in trade paperback) and "ALL Business is Show Business."
He is the Co-founder and Principal of The Value Added Institute, a think-tank that examines the role of the customer experience in creating significant advances in the level of client loyalty, and has appeared on multiple occasions as a commentator and analyst on FOX News Channel. His platform presentations have run the gamut from the White House lawn with the President in the audience carried live on CNN and NBC's "Today" show...to a remote outpost near the Amazon...all 50 states, seven Canadian provinces...and from Singapore to Sweden...Mexico to Morocco.
An inductee into the Professional Speakers Hall of Fame, he is also a member of "Speakers Roundtable" -- an elite, invitation-only group of twenty of the world's top business speakers.

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