Recognize the Impact of 'Superconsumers'

Everyone who works in a customer-facing business knows the saying "It's easier to keep a customer than to find a new one." In today's dynamic sales environment, where mobile and social channels are rapidly emerging as go-to mediums and consumers wield more knowledge and power than ever, that saying has never been more true. However, brands are recognizing that it is not every customer they need to keep, but rather a select group of very powerful ones—the "superconsumers."

An incredibly thoughtful piece recently appeared in the Harvard Business Review about the rise of these superconsumers and the drivers behind it. The article noted that this elite group of customers make up just about 10 percent of buyers, but can account for anywhere between 30 and 70 percent of sales for a brand. And yet superconsumers are not necessarily your "heaviest users or most frequent purchasers." Superconsumers are far more than just loyal customers—they are product evangelists, innovators, and enthusiasts. They are the foundation of your business' success.

The challenge most companies have in finding, identifying, and, subsequently, acquiring more superconsumers lies in the data. Many organizations have vast amounts of customer information from disparate sources—financial systems, e-commerce platforms, sales force automation systems, warranty databases, and social sites—but they struggle to bring the data together and link it to create a consolidated, comprehensive view of their customers. Facebook users share 2,460,000 pieces of content every minute of the day. With 2.4 billion people online, we're talking about an overwhelming amount of data. No wonder it often feels like an uphill battle to keep track of consumer sentiment and preferences. Companies that are generating billions of online transactions daily need to figure out how to best capture, store, and manage that data, and then determine what data is valuable and how to best utilize it to make smarter business decisions.

The first step is to ensure your data is securely managed via a customer data management platform. Once that is achieved, the good stuff can begin. From there, you can apply analytics to identify and profile these superconsumers and determine their value to your organization. There is so much value in knowing who these individuals are; you can go find others who look like them, or better yet, sell them more and have them serve as advocates in their networks, promoting your products better than any advertising could.

Our own experience reflects this. Not only do superconsumers outspend their peers, but they buy more frequently and tend to purchase higher-value products. Here are some additional findings from our research that further support the impact top consumers can have on a business:

  • Superconsumers are up to 40 times more valuable than nonsupers.
  • Superconsumers represent the vast majority of total Web site traffic (greater than 70 percent) and content consumption and are more likely to interact across multiple channels; in fact, their interaction frequency is 10 times that of your average consumer.
  • The top 3 percent to 5 percent—those SUPER supers—spend four times as much as the average consumer.

Also, superconsumers opt in or out of email communications at much higher rates, over-index on premium products, and place more orders in a shorter time period. They have the potential to drive more revenue, more product innovations, and more market expansion. In short, they are a group that simply cannot be ignored. By better understanding your organization's superconsumers and applying those learnings to your sales and marketing process, you can quickly capitalize on their potential business value and start impacting the bottom line.

Michelle Boockoff-Bajdek is the executive vice president of marketing and sales at Quaero.

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