Idea -> Tools or Tools -> Idea?

I’ve gone back and forth on Direct Response Marketing.

I’ve used it myself, invested in learning how to use it better, had an emotional messy breakup with it, considered it the devil, and (I hope) come around to a more reasoned, balanced view of where it fits into our world as indie experts.

I’m still working on that last part, but this leads me to consider reversing the assumed buy-in -> purchase tools order we’ve been considering here. It might be easier to use the good parts of DR marketing to sell tools rather than use the good parts of Direct Response Marketing to try to sell ideas. (In fact, the latter might not be possible at all.) And if that’s true, then what would it look like to use the good parts of Direct Response to sell tools that are somehow a fractal of or a holon of the larger idea?

It feels mercenary and sterile, but the idea of “acquiring” or “recruiting” “converts” for the idea is useful, because it gets us thinking about how we design and resource our “acquisition effort”.

This leads me to wonder about — and set up a whole pop-up email list exploring the possibility of — having the idea but not really trying to “acquire converts” for it, but instead thinking about the tools that support the idea and wondering whether the way we design and sell those tools maybe could perform the acquisition of converts FOR US.

In other words: what if someone buying a tool with no real understanding of the idea it connects to gets value from using the tool and gets introduced to the larger idea and that somehow leads to a virtuous cycle? Is this even possible? It certainly seems like, if it is, it would be a wonderful way to design a business.

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