Courting the superconsumer


I love the Harvard Business Review and getting time to read it is my guilty pleasure. This month when I had some time on a business retreat to catch up this article caught my eye. I share an excerpt of it for you here.


From the March 2014 Harvard Business Review
Make Your Best Customers Even Better

by Eddie Yoon, Steve Carlotti, and Dennis Moore

Every marketer is familiar with the Pareto principle. Known colloquially as the 80/20 rule, it suggests that one-fifth of a product’s buyers are responsible for four-fifths of sales. A similar effect applies to superconsumers. Using Nielsen supermarket scanner data, we analyzed the top 124 consumer packaged goods categories and found that on average, superconsumers represent 10% of a category’s customers but account for 30% to 70% of sales and an even higher share of profits.

Reaping Benefits Beyond Sales
It’s important to distinguish superconsumers from other segments of buyers. They aren’t quite the same as “heavy users”—a product’s highest-volume buyers, in traditional marketing terms. Heavy users are defined simply by the quantity of their purchases. Superconsumers are defined by both economics and attitude: They are a subset of heavy users who are highly engaged with a category and a brand. They are especially interested in innovative uses for the product and in new variations on it. They aren’t particularly price sensitive. Superconsumers tend to have more occasions and “jobs” for a product. Think about hot dogs: While many consumers view them primarily as a food for backyard barbecues, superconsumers see them as an ideal fast meal or an after-school snack.

Companies that focus on superconsumers can realize benefits far beyond an opportunity to drive sales growth. Because superconsumers are already buying your products, it’s easy to reach them. This means that you can dramatically increase the efficiency of your advertising and promotions. Instead of trying to activate lapsed users through expensive mass-market campaigns or paying large sums to deliver coupons to customers who haven’t bought your product in months (and probably won’t buy it now), you can focus your efforts on a narrow slice of your customer base. Direct and digital marketing are often much more effective with superconsumers than with others.

<href=”″ target=”_blank”>Full full article 

So, how do you connect with Superconsumers?

Go beyond VIP discounts and reward programs. Superconsumers deserve more of your attention.

  • Talk to them. Connect through social media. Superconsumers are more likely to engage online and respond to direct email communication than other groups.
  • Listen to them. Invite them in for focus groups and discussions. Ask them how they use your products and why.
  • Innovate for them. Listen to their suggestions and innovate to suit them. Let them preview the products and provide feedback.
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Choosing an agency: Short list interviews

This is part three in a series of three blogs about searching for a creative agency.

Interviewing an agency

Last month I suggested you do some pre-planning before you interview your list of creative agency candidates. This month I’ll coach you through the interview process.

I highly encourage companies to take the time to meet with a short list of agencies before asking them to develop a proposal or pitch your business. How you two work together, relate, think etc. is so important that it overshadows everything else. Period. If you are on the same page from the beginning, expectations are understood, work processes are comfortable and any proposals you get will be more insightful.

So how can you use the interview to find out who’s the best fit for you?

Check for chemistry – ask to meet with more than the front man. In fact, meet the whole team if you can. It’s like speed dating – you’ll know in the first few minutes if the fit is there or not.

Ask about their work – When you study the agency’s sites or blogs jot down a couple of questions or notes about work you liked. To get a feel for their rates, ask them about the campaigns or clients similar to you and what they cost.

Let them interview you – A good agency is also looking for a good fit. They should ask you questions, too. Some of my favorite prospect questions are: Describe your last agency relationship –what worked and what didn’t? What is the primary goal for your company over the next 12 months? What do you want marketing to accomplish for you?

Interview your short list of four or five firms using this method. Then, if you need to, ask select candidates to develop a plan or proposal around a specific project or need.

After having built a rapport with you, agencies will be able to provide more accurate proposals. And they’ll be working hard to win the business of a firm they know they like and fit.

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Choosing an agency? Do your homework first

This is part two in a series of three blogs about searching for a creative agency.


Last month we talked about how to review websites to shop for a creative agency. But before you start interviewing, take some time to do your homework and consider your actual needs.

1. Set objectives. What do you want to accomplish in the next 12 months? What is the one or two things that must be done?

2. Set a budget. How much can you afford to spend on marketing this year, or quarter? True, you’ll get what you pay for –but you also pay for what you get, whether you’re using it or not. Don’t secure a firm that’s more than you really need.

3. Set expectations. Will you write the marketing plan? Will the agency follow your strategic direction? Or are you looking marketing expertise with creative ideas that are also hard working?

4. Consider the process. The more complex your needs, the more complex your support may need to be. Match the agency talents to the tasks. Can you work with more than one firm, allowing you to hire for specific skills? Or are you more comfortable having one firm that can handle everything?

Having this information in mind will help you select a firm that fits your needs and style of working.

Watch for next month’s post when I talk about how to get the most from the interview process.

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