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Are You Marketing to


Your “Inner Circle”?


     Besides your mother, there is no bigger fan support base for your business than the market that constitutes your “internal” (or “inner circle” of) customers. Perhaps you never thought of them as a market.

     Perhaps you never thought about who, exactly, makes up this hot prospect / top customer group. Here are some quick thoughts you might want to consider:

     Without exception, the best source of business is existing and past business. Most small business owners and managers realize this, if not overtly, then at least instinctively, and do a pretty decent job of catering to these special people.

     The second best source of business is your “inner circle,” your “internal customer market.” This is comprised first and foremost of your own employees and staff. And many owners and managers also recognize the potential attached to this segment of the internal customer market with things like employee discounts.

(As an interesting side note: In Ben & Jerry’s growth years, every employee was required by job description to take home 7 free pints of ice cream every week, which they of course served to friends and family and gave to neighbors, which became a seeding process to help create a “big buzz”! ), but . . .

     How many small businesses take the next step outside this innermost support ring? When did you last, for example, make special effort to gain customers from your vendor/supplier ranks?

     Think about the fact that at least part of the success of every vendor and supplier to your business (from manufacturing and office supplies, to specialized and not-so-specialized services) is dependent on your business’s continued success.

     Marketing? Ha! It doesn’t even cost anything to hand-deliver or email these people special announcements of special product or service deal considerations. The stronger your alliances with your vendors and suppliers, the more they’ll act as your UNcommissioned, UNpaid sales force as they make their rounds calling on other businesses. It’s like networking the networkers.

     Have you made efforts to similarly (perhaps more quietly) market your wares or services to outside visitors –including sales reps– who call on you in person or by phone? What about other businesses on your block, in your building, neighborhood, community, state or region?

     Internet social networks are not the only avenues for capturing customers from among those who already know of your existence and who may share some common ground. Put on your thinking cap, and keep open-minded. 

     And what have you done for or with the mass or industrial or professional media lately? Not only might those people be prospects for you, they have the ability to influence many others … So do you!

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