Usain Bolt proved himself to be the best last night by winning his third straight Olympic 100-meter dash. No debate there. It’s the same with most other Olympic champions—it’s clear who the best is. But when it comes to your customers, it’s not always that clear.
I’m thinking back to a conversation I had with marketer, best-selling author and one of our three keynote speakers for the upcoming Business Information & Media Summit (BIMS) Matt Bailey last month. “One question I always ask people is, ‘Who’s your best customer?’” he said. “I ask them to get that image in their head of their best customer, face, logo. Then I follow up, ‘Are they your most profitable customer?’ The vast majority of time they’re not the most profitable customer. They’re the customer you have the best relationship with. Then it becomes a question of, ‘Do you want more?’
“Do you truly want customers that you have a great relationship with or are you looking just specifically for profit? Because you just told me that your best customers are the ones you have the best relationships with… It’s funny. We talk about profit, but as soon as I ask that question, it’s someone that’s been with me the longest. 'They refer business, I enjoy talking with them.' They’re the ones that make your business and job rewarding. It’s a very interesting exercise to go through and think through that. And then, okay, how do we develop more of those customers?”
Bailey has long promoted the importance of activating your loyalists by giving them a succinct message to spread. ("Loyalists breed more loyalists," he has said.) If they are to become your social media promoters, then "a simpler message will make word of mouth easier." He once pointed to an example where the benefits messaging needed to change because it was too scientific; it needed more human interest. "Try to see your marketing through your customers' eyes."