Do You Really Know Your Customers?

Image Courtesy - Trend Hunters

Image Courtesy – Trend Hunters

Google trends shows that since mid 2007, there has been a consistent level of interest in customer advocacy as a topic.

With the advent of social media and the amplification of the voice of the consumer, brands who want to put customer engagement at the center of their strategy, are getting more and more serious about nurturing these advocates (like Telstra announced in Feb).

They start and run advocacy programs.

Unfortunately, most of these programs are nothing but “old wine in new bottle”.

What people do not understand is that you can not start an advocacy program and build/nurture customer advocates. There is a certain amount of rigour that the entire organization needs to show towards having the customer engagement at the center of everything that they do.

An interesting HBR blog about Customer Advocacy started with the following question:

Who sells your products or services?

This was not a rhetorical question. This was a profound question. The simple answer to the question used to be your sales and marketing teams. Now, the answer is gradually moving towards customers. Yes, your customers could potentially be your biggest sales drivers. However, if you really wanted to engage these customers and provide them the right platforms and help them help you, you need to first understand your customers a bit better than you do currently.

If you look at the total population of your existing customers, you shall find that there are a mix of customers:

  • Neutral Customers: Some customers who are happy with your product/service at the price you are providing, but are willing to switch to a different vendor when they get a better deal. They have no emotional engagement with you or your product/service.
  • Dissatisfied customers: Some of your customers would also fall in this category. They dont like your product or service but dont complaint either. They are dissatisfied but likely to continue to do business with you. This could be mostly due to inertia (they dont want to put in the effort to terminate your product and seek a replacement as this could mean too much work for them).
  • Actively dissatisfied customers: These are the customers who are not happy with what you do and are also vocal about their feelings of dissatisfaction. They have some emotional investment in the product/service. These customers are potentially good candidates to turn into loyal customers or even customer advocates, if treated well.
  • Loyal customers: These are customers who like what you have to offer and hence will continue to do business with you. These are the customers where you shall find that their investments with you will grow over time. These are the customers who are willing to give you a testimonial for you or your offering. These are also the customers who are willing to go on stage and talk about how you or your products have helped them whenever you want them to. So, they do all of these when asked for.
  • Customer advocates: These are also loyal customers but who on their own go out and talk about how good you or your products are . They don’t need an invitation or a request from you to sing your praises. They will find ways and means to voice their opinion. Usually, the percentage of your customers (if any at all) who are already advocates for you is very less, in the lower single digit of all your customer population.

Now, how you engage with each of these sets of customers is very different. But in order to do so, you do need to understand which bucket does a customer belong.

A good sales executive can potentially use this information about the customer to build a sales strategy around this classification. How you sell to a nuetral customer could be slightly different that how you sell to an actively dissatisfied customer and that would be very different than how you sell to an advocate or a loyal customer.

Knowing this classification can also help your marketing teams define different strategies, content and marketing campaigns for different types of customers.

Knowing this classification can also help your product development team to decide whom should they want inputs on new products from and whom should they contact for a feedback about a feature in the existing product/service offering.

Knowing this classification can also help your customer service team to treat them accordingly.

If you try and treat all of these types of customers the same and try to make them all your advocates, you shall not only fail in creating more advocates but also potentially run the risk of losing some of these customers.

So, do you really know your customers?

Potential Mistake that Marketing Teams Should Avoid

Marketing Fail

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The biggest mistake that I have seen a lot of marketers starting to make is that they fall in the trap of following experts at the cost of not following their customers/prospects.

We all know that marketing as a function is going through a transformation. Some buzz words and trends that you may have noticed that are playing out in the marketing world are:

  • Social Media Marketing
  • Content Marketing
  • Paid/earned content and many many more.

CMO’s are now being forced to understand technology and work closely with their technology peers (CIO’s or CTO’s).

And there are some really good experts around all these topics, who are so convincing about the topics that they specialize in and can convince you that unless you as a marketing team are not active in their area of expertise you are missing the boat.

Marketing teams should not get carried away by all these transformative forces and the expert speak.

We should not forget the core function of marketing is still to move your customers or prospects through the AIDA phases. This means that the marketing team still needs to keep their customers at the center of everything that they want to do.

This then means that

  • If your customers are not active on social media, you need not spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on creating and maintaining social presence just because experts say that is the most important thing to do.
  • If your customers are already congregating on a specific channel, you go to them and interact with them there, instead of trying to get them to come over to where you are (your site, facebook page, YouTube channel, etc).
  • Ensure that all activities (content, social, traditional) should be intentional.

Have you also committed this mistake or know of someone who has committed this information? Do share your story.


How do You Start Your Day to Ensure Peak Performance?

Usain Bolt - Delivering Peak Performance

Usain Bolt – Delivering Peak Performance everyday

The following routine at the start of the day ensures peak performance for me:


  • For my Body: One of the most important thing that you could do first up in the morning is to exercise your body. A healthy body is crucial for success. This is one activity that i have not been regular at, however, plan to start doing on a much more regular basis.
  • For my Mind: I read something stimulating. You could read a scripture if you are religious. I read a good book something that is not from my regular field of study or work. This keeps expands my mind and keeps it healthy. I also intend to start writing morning pages to clear my mind of all the thoughts that I accumulated through the night.
  • For my Spirit: A prayer or an expression of gratitude for all that is there in my life at the start of the day keeps me grounded and away from stress.

Intention: Manifest my intention by answering the following questions:

  • How would you like the day to unfold?
  • What is the most important action that you would you like to complete by the end-of-day?
  • What would you do with your spouse & kids?
  • Whom would I delight today?

The answer to each one of the above questions is not be more than one sentence.


The first thing that I do every day is to identify ways in which i can delight (or inspire) an existing customer.

These have worked for me. What is your morning routine that helps you deliver peak performance? Do share with us.

Pushing Beyond the Obvious

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