Everyone wants to grow their business – irrespective of the current size or the level of competition. This also means that growth is not easy. So, any strategy that can help grow our business is a welcome addition to all the material that we already have.
I must say, that on the face of it, it doesn’t seem like much different from what all the literature around managing your most profitable customers and growing from there. However, I was pleasantly surprised by both the amount of thinking that the author has done and the different frameworks and strategies that he shares in the book.
Below is some of my notes from the book:
A report by the auditing company KPMG and the Economist Intelligence Unit revealed that only 1 percent of 580 companies hit their forecast exactly over a three-year period, and only 22 percent were within 5 percent. On average, companies were off by 13 percent, an inaccuracy that had an estimated 6 percent impact on total shareholder value.
Super-Consumers can be your guide for simple, superior, and sustainable growth.
Who are Superconsumers:
Superconsumers are those customers who spend significantly higher than the rest of the customers and they are emotional about their purchases. Your product or service addresses a part of their life aspirations and hence they are attached to your category.
Characteristics of superconsumers:
There are five characteristics of superconsumers:
- High on Spend + High Engagement: They’re more than just heavy users with a new name. Unlike traditional heavy users, Super-Consumers combine big spending with high engagement and deep interest in new uses for a product.
- Prevalent: They exist in every business.
- Emotional: They’re emotionally invested. If you talk to super-consumers, you’ll learn that most have very logical reasons for their behaviour. They simply find more meaning and benefits in a given category than other customers do. In fact, just about everyone is a super-consumer of something.
- Easy to Find: They’re easier to find. Big data and social media enable you to identify them.
- Leaders: They’re willing to buy even more … and lead others to follow them.
The superconsumer strategy has four important steps, we label it the FUEL framework:
- Find Super-Consumers. You have to find them three ways:
- analytically in your data,
- internally within your team,
- personally among your family and friends.
- Understand Super-Consumers. There are four ways to understand them:
- contextually, and
- Engage with Super-Consumers. You engage with 4 them in two ways:
- by having empathy for the heights and depths, joy and pain, of their super-consumer passion and
- by understanding your own role in contributing to their pain and joy.
- Lean into Super-Consumers.
- Create a community of superconsumers and and watch them riff off each other for new ideas for growth.
- Seek out how Super-Consumers have fun with your category. Understand the category’s challenges and chores.
- Look for bias, and shatter stereotypes of Super-Consumers.
- Look for ways that you can help your consumers a great deal but at low cost to yourself.
- Be generous. It’s the only way to start a real friendship.
The superconsumer strategy is simple, elegant and logical. Super-Consumers aren’t random oddballs who buy in bulk. They’re emotional buyers who base their purchase decisions on their life aspirations.
The key behind these lessons is to recognise that
- Consumers are wonderfully complex and endlessly surprising
- They’re humans, after all.
- They have beliefs and preferences that are different from yours.
- Their behaviours are complicated.
- And most of all, they have rich emotions that even they may not fully understand.
So you need to find these consumers and listen to them. They exist in every category, and they have a lot to say and in most cases, are already saying a lot (on social media, blogs, review sites, etc).
The remarkable success of brands that have used this strategy to fuel their growth offer us a few great insights:
- Consumers hire brands for a job, but super-consumers hire multiple brands for multiple jobs to solve a quest.
- Multiple Super-Consumers near one another (be it physical or psychological proximity) create super-geos, where their passion spreads like a virus.
- Quests enable breakthrough innovations in product offerings.
- Super geos enable breakthrough business-model innovation. The presence of both Super-Consumers and super geos allows you to create new categories.
There are a few big differences between a job and a quest. A job is often something people have to do, whereas a quest is something people want to do.
Further Segments of customers (apart from superconsumers):
Apart from superconsumers, we can group all other customers based on the passion and-profit index as
- Potential Super-Consumers: They are engaged with the category and have the potential to spend much more than they currently do. They need to be connected with superconsumers and will be led by them to become superconsumers themselves. Potential Super-Consumers are the clearest sign of emerging and latent demand.
- Autopilots: They do spend more than average but dont see this as fun yet. They are also mostly loyal to a brand but may not be high on engagement.
- Uninvolved consumers: They neither have fun with the category nor do they spend higher than average. They are probably the most price conscious as buying this category is a chore for them. They are extremely low on engagement.
To consumers, every category represents varying levels of fun and chores. If they find a category to be more fun than burdensome, then they tend to be more engaged and spend more. If they think a category is more of a hassle than a pleasure, they tend to be less engaged and buy less.
Once you have an early-warning system and precision map of how demand will evolve, make sure when making a business decision about Super-Consumers, you ask these questions:
- Do Super-Consumers care?
- Will our offering help them achieve their quest and get their job done?
- How much do Super-Consumers care?
- Will our offering make them want to use the category or pay twice as much, or do both?
- Is how much they care greater than the incremental price they will pay, and is that price greater than my cost to deliver?
If you can confidently answer yes to all three questions, then you should feel empowered to move forward.
Mistakes to Avoid:
One of the most common way that businesses lose out is when they stop respecting their customers and develop contempt for them. This is the case in every business that has grown. What needs to be done is to realise this and stop before it is too late.
Calibrating Your Contempt for Your Consumers:
- How many companies have reduced the quality or size of a product but held the price the same because they believed that consumers wouldn’t notice?
- Or which companies have made innovation decisions based on what they do well instead of what the consumer really wants?
- The underlying, subtle contempt behind all of these decisions is that the company has more power than the consumer.
We need to understand and internalise that the primary focus of the business is to serve its customers and therein make a profit for itself.
Throughout the process, there are three clear steps that help you focus your efforts:
- Boil your superconsumer strategy down to as simple a statement as possible.
- Write your goals and principles down, and have them close by so your team can refer to them.
- Say them over and over again.
This is a good book to read if you have the responsibility of leading a business and realise that the best way to grow a business is by growing your customers.
The book is easy to read and has a lot of examples of how businesses, small and large have benefited from using the superconsumer strategy. I would give this book a rating of 8/10.