One of the prime goals for an Internet marketer who wants to market within a specific niche is to get to know that niche. A specific market demographic is likely to have a whole culture around it, and you run into trouble if you get the culture wrong when composing your marketing materials. Leather, metal, motorcycles, and lager will go over big with marketing to bikers, but will flop with selling needlepoint kits to grannies.

One of the most important demographics is the youth market. Billion-dollar advertising companies exhaust years of research into study groups of kids and young people aged 14 to 21, to find out what they listen to, what they eat, where they go, and what their current slang is.

By all means, it’s necessary to become a part of this culture if you intend to market to it. Your best bet is to join Twitter groups, social bookmarking sites, and mailing lists devoted to your target culture and then remain very quiet about it. Spend more time listening than you do talking. Every time you see an unfamiliar term, look it up in Wikipedia or some other source to get the origin of the phrase.

For example: You’ve seen a meme going around with Photoshopped images with the caption “Madness? This is SPARTA!” It’s useful to know that this line comes from the movie 300 based on the graphic novel of the same name, written and illustrated by Frank Miller. So if you’re composing an ad aimed at young comic book fans, you might advertise your web start-up with “This is a START-UP!” accompanied by a Greek warrior. I know, that’s a lame slogan, but it illustrates the point.

One site which does this right is Their staff is outrageously meme-hip, and when they market, they know their audience like nobody else. The ad in the corner urging you to create your own sub-Reddit category randomly includes lines like: “…do it for the children” (a popular satire of social causes), “…for your WoW guild” (World of Warcraft is a very popular game there), “…sudo create your own reddit” (referencing both Linux and the XKCD comic, both with a huge following on Reddit), and “…for a fringe political candidate” (The US presidential election brought these out in droves).

When you use a culture’s own in-jokes and memes to communicate with it, you’re sending them a little wink: “We understand you! We know what’s important to you!” And then you build up a level of trust with the potential customer.