The Difference Between a Fan and a Fan

_-82Every band and singer — regardless of genre — has fans.  But the realm of fandom varies.  Some fans buy tickets to concerts when they happen to hear a band is coming to town.

But others… well, others go to every concert.  They brag about how many concerts they’ve attended.  They travel to concerts.  And they share their experiences with their friends every chance they get.

Two bands, U2 and Pearl Jam (I know I’m showing my age here), come to mind as being particularly adept at capitalizing on their fandom with exclusive fan clubs. These ‘hubs’ feature fan surveys, behind-the-scenes stories, members-only merchandise, and most importantly, great perks like early release tickets to upcoming shows.

Basically, these bands have figured out how to organize, mobilize and recognize their best fans with creative digital content and social campaigns. And those fans respond in turn, promoting the band’s upcoming tours and converting listeners to avid followers.

Now, people certainly get more excited over Bono or Eddie Vedder than they do over the products and services they use at work. But that doesn’t mean B2B buyers aren’t willing to share their positive experiences with vendors. The fact is, we spend half of our life using professional products and services that save us precious time, showcase our creativity and skills – even help make our careers.

My colleague Karri Ojanen, Influitive’s UX expert, recently spoke about how today’s flood of new products has effectively moved the product design goal post from creating products that are just useful and usable to ones that are desirable.  Today’s offerings need to be aesthetically pleasing and have personality, which in turn lead to fiercely loyal users. It builds a reservoir of goodwill and positivity that lies untapped for too many vendors.

Why waste such a precious asset? Vendors need to give their customers reasons to talk about their positive experiences, to like vendors on facebook and proudly tweet about their successes. Simply asking these customers to be a sales reference isn’t enough. In fact, it’s a squandered opportunity, akin to U2 asking its fans to have one on one conversations with potential concert goers. No, this kind of positive customer endorsement is front page material – it should be the first thing your buyer sees when they start their purchase process.

In the coming weeks, I’m going to be sharing examples of how our customers have tapped into their own wellspring of customer advocacy and the amazing results they’ve experienced. But for now, take a page from U2’s songbook – find your fans, embrace them and give them lots of opportunities to feel loved.  The results will astound you.

3 Responses to The Difference Between a Fan and a Fan

  1. Eric Butterwick says:

    Jim there is absolutely nothing wrong with Pearl Jam and U2. I think you make a great point and as customers look to be treated more as individuals rather than a number from a company the opportunity for fandom is there for companies to capitalize on – and gain more than revenue, it’s a relationship with that individual that keeps them coming back.

    • influitive says:

      Nothing wrong at all, Eric! Love those bands! And I totally agree with you. The crazy thing is that it really costs nothing to make customers feel special. A thank you note, membership card or recurring call from an executive have little monetary value but very high emotional currency for the advocate that values their vendor and just wants to be part of a movement. In fact, this will be the subject of a future post, so if you have examples of highly effective advocate incentives and perks, I’d love to hear them! Thanks for your post.

  2. Gary says:

    Great post. If Eric Church had an advocate hub he’d have about 2,000 more fans from all the shit my daughters and wife post on FB. My wife woke up to him this morning – this is her post ….

    Amy McGrath shared a link.
    about an hour ago
    Just had to repost this song…listened to it this morning…Ssoooo good!
    «Love Your Love the Most» song by Eric Church
    Music Video and Song Lyric “Love Your Love the Most” performed by Eric Church

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