The Rule of The Few and The Many

Close your eyes for a minute and think of a few companies you really like doing business with. (You can open them now) Now, try to remember the interactions that influenced your opinions of those companies.

How many were interactions that were created “en masse” for you and other customers, such as ads, web home pages, fine print, FAQ’s, direct mail pieces, etc.?

How many were one-on-one interactions, such as personal advice from a salesperson, a customer service rep fixing a problem for you, a maintenance person trouble-shooting an issue for you, etc.?

Here is the simple truth: Marketing becomes less effective the more people it tries to reach at one time.

No doubt, it’s impossible to talk to customers one at a time, all of the time. It’s even hard to talk to them in small groups all of the time. Hey, even this blog is a form of mass communication. There are times when it is necessary, and even smart, to talk to customers as a group.

But it is also important to recognize that you are always making a compromise as you talk to many customers at one time. The natural tendency in marketing is to gang up communications and reach more customers, concurrently. Don’t look at this tendency as a convenience that makes the marketing job easier. Look at it as a compromise, even if it is a necessary compromise, that limits your ability to communicate.

Remember The Rule of the Few and the Many. It’s a simple rule: When possible, few is always better than many.

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Posted in Customer Encounters, Marketing

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