An evangelist is a passionate, loyal, highly communicative customer who tells friends and family how wonderful you are. They spend money with you freely and encourage their network to do the same. An evangelist is forgiving of mistakes, assumes you have their best interest at heart, and makes your life very easy. Developing a critical mass of mainstream evangelists is a highly rewarding pursuit, and all but guarantees dramatic success.
To develop evangelists, you need all of the following, pretty much in this order:
- Excellent products or services that exceed customers’ expectations and are overflowing in FGF, or feel-good-factor. More on product excellence on my blog here.
- Deep qualitative customer insights about how they think about, talk about, and use your product or service.
- Powerful language that’s simple, emotional, focused on lifestyle, and based on the insights you gather from your customers.
- Effective platforms from which to communicate this language. Social media is one of many platforms, and in terms of effectiveness, it’s towards the bottom of the list.
- One of these platforms is public relations. It must be relationship-based, and if you’re brave enough, you’d do well to eliminate blasted press releases to journalists.
- You need to incentivize word-of-mouth communication among your customers by rewarding both the communicator and her friends, family and colleagues for beginning a relationship with you.
- Once you develop evangelists, they must be nourished with continued good marketing. If you skip this last but critical step, your evangelists will leave you in three seconds. See RIM.
As you can see, developing evangelists is more a marketing endeavor than a product development activity. But, the process for attaining evangelists begins at the highest levels of corporate strategy: which products or services will you bring to the market? For which products or services will you (can you) develop evangelists?
The Evangelist Marketing Institute is a private strategy and marketing consulting and coaching practice with clients that include Logitech, TiVo, and Sprint, as well as a wide range of startups and mid-market firms. Details about my work are here.
The Evangelist Marketing Minute is a weekly thinking launch point that is always short enough to read in about 60 seconds. It covers marketing, branding, positioning, language, and public relations. Your email address is never shared, with anybody, for any reason