It’s hard to read marketing trades without coming across an article reminding us of the importance
of content marketing. The message generally seems to be that the more content you throw out to your
current customers, the more they will pass along positive comments and recommendations to their friends, relatives, neighbors,
co-workers and strangers.
On Second Thought,
That's a Bad Idea! We’ve tested the theory and found that yes, sending interesting content to your customers, can
produce a lift in word of mouth. But we have also observed as with any other marketing tactic, there are costs and resources
involved. Consequently we suggest that one shouldn’t reach out to all of one’s customers; many of
them will consider your “valuable content” to be spam or irrelevant to them. As a result, they won’t
open it. They’ll delete it. They’ll unsubscribe. And, most won’t pass along the content
or their thoughts about it, so it’s an ineffective effort. And with some customers your unsought content may even
provoke negative word of mouth and ultimately ‘tarnish’ your image.
But we have never been able to
objectively measure the impact.
Now we have some help. Thanks to an article from AdAge
(September 2, 2015) we are told of a study from EngageSciences reporting that virtually all the earned media
and conversions a typical brand acquires through social media efforts originate from just 4.7% of the brand’s customers.
That's Positive Impact on Just 1 in 20 Customers! So, to wage a successful
social media campaign, simply capturing names and email addresses is therefore far from adequate. Instead, one needs
a process to identify that small percentage of ‘active customers’ who will pass along positive comments and recommendations.
Once a brand has successfully ‘mined’ for these customers, a more ambitious ‘seeding’ can take place.
Because the numbers are much smaller, one can afford to do more with/for these customers. With their identities known
and their influence proven, you can amp up your investment in them. So, knowing your content will have some impact,
you can expend greater effort on its creation. Or, alternatively, how about providing them samples? Inviting them
to special events? Letting them be among the first to try new products, and even delivering them conversation catalysts
so prospective consumers will have opportunities to ask for their opinions and advice.
But How to Identify Your 4.7%
There might be other
approaches but our process for identifying your best potential everyday advocates has three components:
- Behavioral Commitment: Search for those of your customers who are behaviorally committed to your brand; those who
buy the largest quantities; buy most frequently; or who have been your customers for the longest time.
- Emotional-affiliation: Use survey techniques to find which of the behaviorally loyal current
customers are also emotionally attached to your brand.
- The Communicator Gene: Beyond the behavioral and emotional 'screens', use further survey techniques to identify which
of your customers are most comfortable engaging others in brand-conversations.