Your Best Customer Is Not a 'Woman With Children Under the Age of 4'

When It Comes to Word of Mouth, It Pays to Know Their Names

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Josh Bernoff
Josh Bernoff
Who are your best customers?

Do you know their names?

Here's a conversation I often have with marketers:

Josh: Who are your best customers?

Marketer: Women with a child under 4. [Or "People with assets of at least $1 million." Or some such.]

Josh: No, I really mean "Who are your best customers?" What are their names?

Marketer: [No response.]

If you're seeking word of mouth, you should know who your best customers are -- by name. You should be feeding them previews of new products, asking their opinion of features you're considering, and finding out how they think to build marketing copy. You should get testimonials from them. And you should provide places where can submit their own opinions, and others can see it -- ratings and reviews, Facebook pages, community forums or whatever it takes.

Now, consider this. Some of your best customers are those who had a problem... but you reached out and found them and fixed it. There is nothing more enthusiastic than a friend who used to hate you.

Are you reaching out like this? @comcastcares is.

Or do you still think about customers by the thousands and not individually?

What if you could reach out to them individually, but do it efficiently? I ought to write a book about that.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Bernoff is the co-author of "Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies," a comprehensive analysis of corporate strategy for dealing with social technologies such as blogs, social networks and wikis, and is a VP-principal analyst at Forrester Research. He blogs at blogs.forrester.com/groundswell.
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