In the past, much focus has been given to motivating the middle segment of purchasers to buy more. A new article in Harvard Business Review (March 2014) – “Make Your Best Customers Even Better” by Eddie Yoon, Steve Carlotti, and Dennis Moore of the Cambridge Group reviews the emerging potential of analytics to focus on the most innovative segment, the “superconsumers”.
Working with Nielsen and Kraft allowed the team to capture insights to a group of consumers who are not only passionate about the brand – the group actually qualifies as a marketer’s dream: customers ready to engage, increase their purchase volume, share ideas, and rally behind the product. Unlike heavy users, this group isn’t driven by pricing and demonstrates a genuine interest in the product. Their enthusiasm and innovation can breathe life into a staid brand by allowing their natural passion and interest to be communicated via video and social media.
What becomes more difficult to measure, however, is when simultaneous tactics are rolled out at the same time. In the Kraft/Velveeta example, they also launched a new, refrigerated Velveeta product which moved it to the refrigerated aisle – known for higher volume purchases than the packaged goods aisle. One would have to consider the impact of “brand recall” from double exposure within the store and the new, premium location’s effect on purchasing.
The superconsumer is a reality, and a segment that can add volumes in revenue and energy to a brand. Companies with a larger segment of superconsumers, such as Apple, have demonstrated an ability to command higher prices against similarly equipped competitors.
While the label and tone of the article leads to the assumption that the segment only exists in B2C markets, many B2B industries and companies can take a lesson from this example – and some already have. Software companies such as Salesforce.com and Hubspot keep their superconsumers engaged with national conferences where innovators are featured, wealth management firms look for the magic equation in capturing the passion and commitment of independent advisors through a variety of tools, and customer service providers continuously evaluate patterns of behavior and response to anticipate customer needs before they are even articulated. How the superconsumer is identified, engaged and activated is unique for B2B companies, not as clearly or readily defined as a traditional CPG customer.
What’s important is that the serious focus on market research, data insights and first-hand engagement with the superconsumers has led, for Kraft, to a more strategic and focused go-to-market plan. The plan is comprehensive in media selection, messaging, promotions and drives new product development… a plan grounded on engaging consumers and driving profitability via a segment that is ready to buy.