When politicians start a campaign one of the first questions they ask is how they can appeal to the base. Mainstream candidates lock into the usual suspects for rally turnout and fund-raising. The reformers struggle for voter attention and ways to tap into the key PAC’s and the Koch’s and Soros’ of the world.
Traditional brand marketers usually start here as well. We focus on more and better ways of activating existing consumers where the investment to acquire them is sunk and where we already know that they like us and buy often. It seems like a perfectly logical place to concentrate our efforts.
Except where those cohorts are aging out of maintaining their spending. Think Sears.
Except where their needs have shifted and we are no longer their brand or store of choice. Think Barnes & Noble.
Except where a new disruptive model has come along and is doing things we can’t while gobbling up our core customers’ share of wallet. Think Warby Parker and LensCrafters.
Except where we are not replenishing defectors or downward migrators with enough new profitable customers. Think JC Penney.
Good customer analysis always starts with the base. Better customer analysis is focused on a deep understanding of the leverage and limitations inherent in our core segments and yields the insight required to know where to go next and how urgent and powerful any shifts need to be.
It’s all about that base, until it isn’t.