How to Influence an Entire Market

We are all trying to influence markets to hear our message, change their opinion, generate excitement in what we do, and connect their universe to a new way of thinking. Market segmentation dates back at least to the ancient Greeks when Aristotle wrote about the art of persuasion in Rhetoric.

“Of the modes of persuasion furnished by the spoken word there are three kinds. The first kind depends on the personal character of the speaker; the second on putting the audience into a certain frame of mind; the third on the proof, or apparent proof, provided by the words of the speech itself.”

That second point of persuasion, “putting the audience into a certain frame of mind” becomes a far greater task given the unthinkable rate of change and new ways of living, much less working that are so astoundingly unfamiliar to the status quo. Just over 10 years ago, if you heard someone claim that by only 2016, there would be a company worth $300 billion that simply shares personal pictures of ordinary lives with no fee or subscription, you would walk away in absolute disbelief. Despite its woes, Facebook is now, in 2018, valued at $566 billion.

Aristotle believed influence was most pertinent when you tailor your argument to suit your audience. By discriminating to their “respective customs, institutions and interests” you get results.

In this day and age executives call such segmentation psychographic marketing: tailoring messages to groups characterized by their attitude and behavior in order to draw sentiment that will lead to commitment or a belief in a new universe.

But first, you must grab their attention on matters that have meaning for them. Incentives focused on a market’s pain points can expedite attitudes toward your product or service as Ripple did with a $29 million dollar donation to 35,000 teachers in need of materials to be successful in their vocation.

Ask almost any of your colleagues steeped in the teaching profession if they have ever heard of Ripple, and most likely the answer will be no. You can ask about blockchain, and you will probably receive a similar response. Well, that’s changed as mindsets across the country were altered when a generous benefactor thought of every single teacher who posted a need on DonorsChoose.

Ripple, only the third largest cryptocurrency, behind by miles in comparison to Bitcoin and Ethereum, donated $29 million to all 35,000 different classroom teacher requests on the DonorsChoose web site.

The San Francisco-based Ripple envisions a world where making payments faster, more inclusive, and far more accessible to people around the world. Likewise, DonorsChoose shares a similar philosophy in making education more accessible and inclusive for all students, starting with the teachers who know how to make that happen. The donation by Ripple is thus far the single largest cryptocurrency donation to a non-profit, one that funded every single educational project at the time on the web page.

As one teacher named Sonya Hayes stated: “In my 22 years of teaching, I have never witnessed such. It is so encouraging & ignites my passion evermore to keep on keeping on. I have always sought out inventive ways to reach my scholars and to usher them on to greater things. Being on that forefront daily, I witness dreams, desires, goals, successes, heartaches, burdens, and desperation. This is beyond amazing! I am unbelievably happy! My colleagues, parents, and precious scholars will be screaming happy when I announce this tomorrow! My heart can’t not stop praising Our Lord!!!”

Ripple has partnered with giants American Express and Santander to accelerate cross-border payments through their blockchain (RippleNet) between the U.S. and the U.K. If these two significant entities have jumped in, I’d say it’s not on it’s way, but already here.

If you think the elementary and secondary education community was not fully swayed by the power of cryptocurrencies and related technologies such as blockchain, I’d say thousands now understand and believe. As word gets out, as these crypto giants continue to care about education, we’re in for a massive mind-set shift in a community that was historically one of the slowest to change, but one that carries the expertise and platform to change the future through their work in the classroom.

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