Who Are Your Fans?
I just came back from the Craft Brewers Conference in Denver and one of the things that has been on my mind from the conference was the opening keynote from Bruce Dickinson, who is the lead singer of Iron Maiden, a pilot, a brewer, and an entrepreneur. He had a lot of amazing nuggets of information that I wanted to share.
The first thing he talked about was niching, which is something near and dear to us at Lance CPA Group as we niche in working with craft breweries and digital agencies. Bruce talked about niching in who you serve at your brewery. He posited there are two types of people you can niche: Customers and Fans. Bruce defined Customers as people who will leave you. Customers are quick to move on to the next things and have no real ties to your brewery. Fans are people who believe in what you do, tell their friends, and are quick to forgive when you do something wrong or go astray because they know your authenticity. He brought this up in the context that a lot of breweries try to attract customers and not fans.
This struck me in that this concept really applies to any business, whether you are a digital agency, accounting firm, consultant, or artist. If you look at all of the people you serve, you can probably identify who your fans are. But are your marketing, sales, and customer success efforts trying to attract customers, or are they trying to attract fans? I think for a lot of businesses they are attracting customers and not fans. Too often, businesses spend their time trying to keep customers happy and not engaging fans.
I think all businesses could benefit in understanding who their fans are, how they serve their fans, how they attract future fans, and whether those efforts are being limited by chasing customers and keeping them happy. By better serving and taking care of your fans vs your customers, you will build a business that can be sustained for the long term. Iron Maiden is still a band that continues to tour and sell out 80,000 seat arenas by understanding who their fans are and serving them well vs chasing customers.