Superconsumers – A Simple, Speedy, and Sustainable Path to Superior Growth

Everyone wants to grow their business – irrespective of the current size or the level of competition. This also means that growth is not easy. So, any strategy that can help grow our business is a welcome addition to all the material that we already have.

So, when I got my hands on the book – Superconsumers by Eddie Yoon, I was eager to read and understand the strategy.

I must say, that on the face of it, it doesn’t seem like much different from what all the literature around managing your most profitable customers and growing from there. However, I was pleasantly surprised by both the amount of thinking that the author has done and the different frameworks and strategies that he shares in the book.

Below is some of my notes from the book:

Why Superconsumers

A report by the auditing company KPMG and the Economist Intelligence Unit revealed that only 1 percent of 580 companies hit their forecast exactly over a three-year period, and only 22 percent were within 5 percent. On average, companies were off by 13 percent, an inaccuracy that had an estimated 6 percent impact on total shareholder value.

Super-Consumers can be your guide for simple, superior, and sustainable growth.

Who are Superconsumers:

Superconsumers are those customers who spend significantly higher than the rest of the customers and they are emotional about their purchases. Your product or service addresses a part of their life aspirations and hence they are attached to your category.

Characteristics of superconsumers:

There are five characteristics of superconsumers:

  1. High on Spend + High Engagement: They’re more than just heavy users with a new name. Unlike traditional heavy users, Super-Consumers combine big spending with high engagement and deep interest in new uses for a product.
  2. Prevalent: They exist in every business.
  3. Emotional: They’re emotionally invested. If you talk to super-consumers, you’ll learn that most have very logical reasons for their behaviour. They simply find more meaning and benefits in a given category than other customers do. In fact, just about everyone is a super-consumer of something.
  4. Easy to Find: They’re easier to find. Big data and social media enable you to identify them.
  5. Leaders: They’re willing to buy even more … and lead others to follow them.

Superconsumer Strategy:

The superconsumer strategy has four important steps, we label it the FUEL framework:

  1. Find Super-Consumers. You have to find them three ways:
    1. analytically in your data,
    2. internally within your team,
    3. personally among your family and friends.
  2. Understand Super-Consumers. There are four ways to understand them:
    1. rationally,
    2. emotionally,
    3. contextually, and
    4. Culturally
  3. Engage with Super-Consumers. You engage with 4 them in two ways:
    1. by having empathy for the heights and depths, joy and pain, of their super-consumer passion and
    2. by understanding your own role in contributing to their pain and joy.
  4. Lean into Super-Consumers.
    1. Create a community of superconsumers and and watch them riff off each other for new ideas for growth.
    2. Seek out how Super-Consumers have fun with your category. Understand the category’s challenges and chores.
    3. Look for bias, and shatter stereotypes of Super-Consumers.
    4. Look for ways that you can help your consumers a great deal but at low cost to yourself.
    5. Be generous. It’s the only way to start a real friendship.

The superconsumer strategy is simple, elegant and logical. Super-Consumers aren’t random oddballs who buy in bulk. They’re emotional buyers who base their purchase decisions on their life aspirations.

The key behind these lessons is to recognise that

  • Consumers are wonderfully complex and endlessly surprising
  • They’re humans, after all.
  • They have beliefs and preferences that are different from yours.
  • Their behaviours are complicated.
  • And most of all, they have rich emotions that even they may not fully understand.

So you need to find these consumers and listen to them. They exist in every category, and they have a lot to say and in most cases, are already saying a lot (on social media, blogs, review sites, etc).

Leveraging Super-Consumers.

The remarkable success of brands that have used this strategy to fuel their growth offer us a few great insights:

  • Consumers hire brands for a job, but super-consumers hire multiple brands for multiple jobs to solve a quest.
  • Multiple Super-Consumers near one another (be it physical or psychological proximity) create super-geos, where their passion spreads like a virus.
  • Quests enable breakthrough innovations in product offerings.
  • Super geos enable breakthrough business-model innovation. The presence of both Super-Consumers and super geos allows you to create new categories.

There are a few big differences between a job and a quest. A job is often something people have to do, whereas a quest is something people want to do.

Further Segments of customers (apart from superconsumers):

Apart from superconsumers, we can group all other customers based on the passion and-profit index as

  • Potential Super-Consumers: They are engaged with the category and have the potential to spend much more than they currently do. They need to be connected with superconsumers and will be led by them to become superconsumers themselves. Potential Super-Consumers are the clearest sign of emerging and latent demand.
  • Autopilots: They do spend more than average but dont see this as fun yet. They are also mostly loyal to a brand but may not be high on engagement.
  • Uninvolved consumers: They neither have fun with the category nor do they spend higher than average. They are probably the most price conscious as buying this category is a chore for them. They are extremely low on engagement.

To consumers, every category represents varying levels of fun and chores. If they find a category to be more fun than burdensome, then they tend to be more engaged and spend more. If they think a category is more of a hassle than a pleasure, they tend to be less engaged and buy less.

Once you have an early-warning system and precision map of how demand will evolve, make sure when making a business decision about Super-Consumers, you ask these questions:

  1. Do Super-Consumers care?
  2. Will our offering help them achieve their quest and get their job done?
  3. How much do Super-Consumers care?
  4. Will our offering make them want to use the category or pay twice as much, or do both?
  5. Is how much they care greater than the incremental price they will pay, and is that price greater than my cost to deliver?

If you can confidently answer yes to all three questions, then you should feel empowered to move forward.

Mistakes to Avoid:

One of the most common way that businesses lose out is when they stop respecting their customers and develop contempt for them. This is the case in every business that has grown. What needs to be done is to realise this and stop before it is too late.

Calibrating Your Contempt for Your Consumers:

  • How many companies have reduced the quality or size of a product but held the price the same because they believed that consumers wouldn’t notice?
  • Or which companies have made innovation decisions based on what they do well instead of what the consumer really wants?
  • The underlying, subtle contempt behind all of these decisions is that the company has more power than the consumer.

We need to understand and internalise that the primary focus of the business is to serve its customers and therein make a profit for itself.

In Conclusion:

Throughout the process, there are three clear steps that help you focus your efforts:

  1. Boil your superconsumer strategy down to as simple a statement as possible.
  2. Write your goals and principles down, and have them close by so your team can refer to them.
  3. Say them over and over again.

This is a good book to read if you have the responsibility of leading a business and realise that the best way to grow a business is by growing your customers.

The book is easy to read and has a lot of examples of how businesses, small and large have benefited from using the superconsumer strategy. I would give this book a rating of 8/10.

I had the opportunity to talk to Eddie Yoon. You can catch the entire video below:

 

Loyalty Programs and Building Loyalty


One of the biggest challenges that brands face today is to find and cultivate loyal customers. Most brands have some sort of loyalty programs to reward loyalty from their customers. Most of these loyalty programs that I am a part of, totally miss the point of loyalty itself.

In general, the expectation from enterprise customers or consumers have significantly increased and they now expect brands to not just deliver great products and services but also acknowledge them as individuals and engage, excite and/or woo them to become loyal customers. Add to this, the fact that we are today also living in a world where switching costs are going down and its become easier for customers/consumers to switch products and services that don’t match or even exceed their expectations.

In this scenario, it is critical that brands have a good loyalty program that works for the brand and also for their customers.

HERE ARE MY 2 CENTS FOR MAKING YOUR LOYALTY PROGRAM MORE EFFECTIVE

1. Loyalty Programs should be for Loyal Customers

Today, I am part of at least 25 different loyalty programs, each with a different retailer or a business. Does that mean that I am a loyal customer to all of these businesses. Definitely not. Just like millions of others who enroll in a loyalty program, I was also auto-enrolled by the billing clerk while getting my purchase billed. I understand that businesses need to collect information about consumers and then track their purchases and affinity towards their business, to make many tiny decisions.

However, getting everyone part of the loyalty program indicates to me that you don’t value the loyalty but just the business. By doing this the business is also setting the expectation that you will get some discounts by being part of the program and maybe there are levels in the program which entail a lot of benefits for you as a loyal customer. What this tells me as a consumer is that if I want better discounts from the business, I should enroll in the program. Nothing more and nothing less.

In my opinion, instead of enrolling every customer into your loyalty program, businesses, should be very selective about who gets invited to their loyalty programs and as the next logical step, what benefits should be offered to this elite list of consumers to keep them coming back for more. As Eddie Yoon defines, the loyalty programs should be defined for the SuperConsumers.

These class of consumers can not only help your brand grow but can also play a significant part in your product growth strategy, new innovations and even help your brand become a lot more relevant. For more information about Superconsumers and how businesses can find them, engage & learn from them, read the insightful book by Eddie YoonSuperConsumers.

2. Engage people with exceptional experiences.

One of the most diffucult things to do for marketing is to engage people and do so en masse. However, Creating engaging experience does have a significant impact. They elicit emotions which make your brand memorable and makes people eager to share.

When it comes to eliciting emotions, the best emotion to go after is positive surprise. If you are able to positively surprise your customers, most other things can and generally do take a back seat.

Everyone still remembers the KLM surprise act where they spontaneously gave relevant presents to customers based on their social profiles.

3. Create Rituals or traditions! And not just your annual Christmas card. 

As humans, we have always been creatures of habits and evolved using rituals or traditions. Think about what kinds of habits would you like to instill – in yourself, in how you engage your customers and in your customers themselves. Habits create traditions; traditions turn into values. One need to be cautitious here so as to not be selfish in this activity, as it will most certainly backfire. You need to keep your customers life and ambitions central when you are thinking about creating rituals or traditions or habits. This is how cultures are built. One habit, one ritual, one tradition and one story at a time.

4. Give them a voice & Connect them. 

Nurturing a great relationship between your brand and your customers is as important as creating opportunities for your customers to discover other similar customers with similar interests. It is an important pillar that most brands forget when they are building the loyalty programs.

Some Common Mistakes to avoid

  1. Most times, the way loyalty programs are designed are dictated by the technology they use to manage the program rather than the other way around. It is critical that we understand this and not make this mistake when one designs a new loyalty program.
  2. It is important to not hide behind customer sat numbers (yes, I’m talking about the NPS or any such customer satisfaction measurement program). Averages don’t tell you the full truth and can at times be out-right dangerous. So, Go out and meet your customers so you can create meaningful experiences AND traditions. It’s all about people because, in the end, they make up the numbers.
  3. Loyalty programs are for loyal customers and not the other way around. You can’t build loyalty among your customers by enrolling in a loyalty program. Loyalty needs to be earned.

If you are planning or working on creating a new loyalty program, and would like to bounce off ideas, reach out to me and I would be more than happy to share my thoughts and ideas with you. You can reach out to me on twitter @rmukeshgupta.