Marketing essentials: Leverage the power of true fans, not strangers

CirclesofcustomersMarketing guru Seth Godin summarizes it extremely well:  Focusing marketing efforts to win over strangers is far more expensive and less effective than leveraging your true fans.

Consider this hierarchy: Strangers, Friends, Listeners, Customers, Sneezers, Fans and True Fans. One true fan is worth perhaps 10,000 times as much as a stranger. And yet if you're in search of strangers, odds are you're going to mistreat a true fan in order to seduce yet another stranger who probably won't reward you much.

Let's say a marketer has $10,000 to spend. Is it better to acquire new customers at $2,000 each (advertising is expensive) or spend $10 a customer to absolutely delight and overwhelm 1,000 true fans?

Or consider a non-profit looking to generate more donations. Is it better to embrace the core donor base and work with them to host small parties with their friends to spread the word, or would hiring a PR firm to get a bunch of articles placed pay off more efficiently?

Bermuda is spending an absolute ton of money on PR firms, radio and billboard advertising and the like, to what avail?

How much further would our money go if we instead moved to sponsor frequent Bermuda visitors (the kind you always hear about that have been to Bermuda umpteen times) to host Bermuda themed dinner parties?  Send them some genuine Bermuda merchandise, perhaps Black Seal, some Bermuda Shorts, a Bermuda cookbook, some Bermuda jams, a rum cake, a small bit of Bermuda sand, etc.  Create a viral campaign out of it by creating a website for those people to submit photos of their parties for the chance to win a trip back to Bermuda.

Imagine the marketing power of empowering people who already love Bermuda, have visited many times and will rave about their experiences to all their friends vs. a billboard.  

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One thought on “Marketing essentials: Leverage the power of true fans, not strangers

  1. Isn’t this exactly what the PLP is doing with their followers?
    I think the real answer is to aim somewhere between “Customers” and “Listeners”. Close enough to the hard core fans that they won’t feel left out, close enough to strangers that they feel approached.
    The answer isn’t to cater to “True Fans”, it’s to create what’s known as “Customers of Quality” that DO come back time and again.
    Sad thing is… there aren’t that many out there.
    I dig what you’re saying, but…
    “Imagine the marketing power of empowering people who already love Bermuda, have visited many times and will rave about their experiences to all their friends vs. a poorly positioned billboard.” is true at the moment. Sadly. Word of mouth is more powerful than the inept marketing campaign we got happening now.
    However, “Imagine the marketing power of empowering people who already love Bermuda, have visited many times and will rave about their experiences to all their friends vs. a properly positioned billboard.”? There’s no contest. The billboard wins.
    Sadly, none of these jokers know where to put the billboard.

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