Fans Create Cash

by Mack Collier

Last month Jackie wrote a post on her blog with a pretty significant business nugget that I think a lot of people missed:

“Dell has been using the Net Promoter Score (NPS) to measure customer advocacy for the last three years. According to Bobbi Dangerfield, Dell’s VP of Commercial Sales Operations, the company is now able to show that improvements in NPS score directly tie to revenue growth”

Net Promoter Score is a system that attempts to ‘score’ your customer base and tell you if they are fans or detractors.  A score of -100 indicates that all your customers are detractors, while a score of +100 indicates all your customers are fans. Now NPS isn’t perfect and does have its detractors.  But what this means is that as the percentage of Dell’s customers that promote the brand increases, the company’s revenue also grows.

Fans create cash.

How many times have I said here and elsewhere don’t focus on the tools, focus on the connections that the tools help facilitate.  Understanding Twitter is meaningless if you don’t understand how and why your customers are using it.

Understanding your customers trumps understanding marketing/communication channels.  Understanding your fans is even more important.  Here’s what we do know about fans:

1 – They will look for opportunities to promote you

2 – They assume ownership of your brand and will act in what they perceive to be your brand’s best interests

3 – They have high/extremely high levels of loyalty to your brand, which means they spend more than the average customer that has little to no brand loyalty

4 – Their opinions about your brand is more reliable to the average customer than your brand’s advertising.

5 – When they encounter a problem with your brand (bad customer service, defective product or low quality) they will look for ways to bring this to your attention so you can correct the problem.


Let’s look at each of these individually:

Fans will look for opportunities to promote you

You know when you find an amazing blog post that really resonated with you?  You just have to run to Twitter and Facebook and share it with your friends, right?  Why is that?  Because you found value in the post, and want to share that value with others.  Your brand’s fans have the same mentality, they believe that your brand is simply better than other brands, and by extension they feel that if their friends buy your brand, they will also be better.  This is why your fans will go out of their way to promote your brand, because they love your brand and they love their friends.

Fans assume ownership of your brand and act in what they believe to be its best interests 

This honestly scares many brands because they don’t like the idea of having fans out there speaking on the brand’s behalf unchecked.  But this concern is easily overcome by simply connecting with your brand’s fans.  Communicate to them and give them instruction on how to represent your brand.  Your fans want you to connect with them and give them a sense of direction.

Your fans have high levels of brand loyalty and spend more

Your fans support your brand with their wallet.  They buy your products, and then they try to convince other customers to do the same thing.  This is exactly why rock stars don’t focus the majority of their time and marketing on their new customers, they focus their attention on their fans.  Because rocks stars have always understood that their ability to bring in new customers tomorrow, depends on how well they connect with their biggest fans, today.

Your fan’s opinion is more reliable to the average customer than your brand’s advertising

This ties in with the previous point.  Fans spend more, and they also refer business to your brand.  Your fans promote you and that carries more weight with the average customer than your advertising and marketing efforts.  This is another reason why rock stars connect with their fan because they understand that their fans drive new business for the rock star.  Brands are mostly counting on acquiring new customers via overpriced advertising.  Super Bowl spots have already sold out at $4M a pop for a 30-second spot.  All for the hope that each brand’s spot will be the hit of the night and go viral and draw millions of views.  Creating buzz is the name of the game.

Yet for a tiny fraction of that amount, each brand could create and launch a robust brand ambassador program that would provide sustained revenue, improved customer satisfaction, and lower marketing costs for years to come.

When your fans encounter a problem with your brand, they will bring it to your attention to you can fix it

Want to know the difference between a detractor and a fan?  A detractor will say ‘Your brand sucks!’  A fan will say ‘Your brand sucks, here’s how I think we can work together to fix it’.  Your fans assume ownership of your brand, and thusly have a vested interest in seeing it succeed.  They will actively look for problems with your brand, because they want to bring it to your attention so it can be corrected.


So what’s stopping your brand from connecting with its fans and seeing real business growth as a result like Dell has?  And if you need a plan for how to get started embracing and empowering your fans to grow your business, here it is.

Chris Baldwin January 16, 2013 at 4:11 pm

Couldn’t agree more with the concepts advanced here. Fans are becoming the far more effective (and far more cost-effective!) marketing team. Thanks for the post Mack!

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