As we become more data-driven having an accurate, complete and actionable customer database is certainly worthwhile. Of course many brands struggle even to get the basics of this right. And that’s a problem.
Yet even when we get this mostly right simply having someone in our database isn’t necessarily all that useful. Many people we label “customers” haven’t bought in quite some time and often we have no idea why that is. Others aren’t the least bit loyal, only buying when we give them an incredible deal. Still others prefer us for only one specific thing and the potential to grow share of wallet with them is nil. Chances are there are also quite a few names in our file that were acquired through some gimmicky email promotion and those folks actual interest in our brand is non-existent. And that’s a bigger problem.
Contrast that with an audience.
Audiences actively follow what we’re up to. We’ve earned their share of attention. They eagerly await our next release. They quite willingly sign up to hear from us. They share our interesting stuff with their friends. They are engaged, not passive. Sometimes they even sing-along.
Ideally, the size of our audience is not so big that we dilute the possibility of sustained relevance, nor so small that it borders on meaningless. Done intentionally and with care, it’s just right.
Could it be we’re spending too much time building our databases and not enough time curating and growing an audience?
h/t to Austin Kleon for the continued inspiration.