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Customers Of Doom ☠️

January 26, 2022


How new customers could be bad for business

What's the idea here?
There are countless definitions of entrepreneurial and professional success. But here’s a new one: “no business is good business."

Wait, what?
Believe it or not, there are certain customers who you don’t want to jump on your product. These folks are called harbinger customers – AKA the 25% of consumers who consistently buy products that end up flopping within 3 years.

Think of classic product “flops” like watermelon flavored Oreos, Crystal Pepsi, Colgate dinner entrees, Cheetos lip balm, and Jimmy Dean’s chocolate chip pancake-wrapped sausages. Harbinger customers are the ones who jumped all over these products when they were first (disastrously) released.

Why you don't want harbinger business:
Research shows that harbinger customers’ unique talent for picking epic failures is predictive of a product’s success. In fact, those who purchased one of the tragically released products above were more likely to also have purchased another.

Meaning, if a consumer chooses a product that ultimately fails, they’re more likely to pick other disastrous products. So, you definitely don’t want them to close in on your product next. Statistically speaking, that is.

How can you tell who's a harbinger:
There are ways to predict a harbinger from their shopping habits. They’re more likely to:

  • Purchase less expensive items
  • Be early adopters of new or “weird” products
  • Forego writing product reviews
  • Have uncommon product taste compared to the general public

How harbingers can help:
In some cases, small businesses can make use of harbinger customer trends. Because even though harbinger customers can signal a product's future demise, they still buy your products and bring in revenue. So, you can take advantage of the opportunity to meet their more unique needs. You can even market publicity stunt products for a limited time, like the Oscar Mayer bologna face mask (which sold out on its first day of release).

And if you notice harbinger customers circling one of your regular products or services, it might be a good time to consider the longevity and profitability of what you're selling. Ask yourself whether it's time to adapt your goods to meet the needs of a wider audience or to scale back on a product or service that may no longer be required by your customers.

👉 Learn more about the harbinger customer.


Tracking performance on audio ads is getting easier

The scoop:
Measuring ROI on audio ads has been a #struggle for marketers since the early days of radio. And today, with 116M Americans listening to podcasts every month, that struggle continues to grow for businesses trying to get in front of those listeners via audio ads.

Why the struggle?
Audio ads typically rely on listeners to remember a promo code they share on the air. And even if they do remember the code, the listener actually has to remember to go back to the website to enter it after the show is over. And for those digesting the final twist in that murder mystery podcast episode they listened to, your ad is likely the last thing they’re thinking about.

The response:
So, audio platforms are getting clever. And they’re finding ways to not only make it easier to track ROI on audio ads – but also make it easier for listeners to act on the ad.

Earlier this month, Spotify released call-to-action audio cards for podcasts. The feature displays a button on the screen to go to the website of the advertiser right when the podcast ad starts playing. But here’s the real kicker: the button will resurface on the app when the person goes back to browsing on Spotify, making it easier for people to take quick action on the ad.

Spotify hopes to solve the two biggest problems in audio ads: response and attribution. Because now, you can actually track clicks and purchases that directly result from podcast ads.

The (literal) response:
But Spotify isn’t the only one making moves with audio ads. Several ad-tech companies are testing methods that allow listeners to interact with them with their voice. For example, car brand Infiniti asked listeners if they were interested in taking a test drive. If listeners said “yes,” it took them right to the Infiniti website. And although these features have been around since 2019, it’s gaining more attention today as podcasts grow.

So, are audio ads worth it for small businesses?
Tough to tell. There’s not enough data yet to show whether these features make audio ad performance any easier to track. But it’s a step in the right direction.

And for small business leaders, it makes audio ads seem less like a shot in the dark and more of a measurable way to spend your ad dollars.

👉 Get the full deets on these ads.


Workplace feedback – the right way

Let's talk about it.
When it comes to giving someone feedback in the workplace, there are right ways and wrong ways. We want to talk about the right ways.

More feedback can lead to lower turnover.
You don’t realize how important having a high-feedback culture is until you don’t have one.

If you’ve ever had to wonder how you’re doing, had a performance review that came as a surprise, or felt that you couldn't let your manager know if they could be doing something better, you’ve probably experienced a feedback-lacking environment.

But the benefits of having a company culture that values feedback are vast. According to Gallup, managers showed 8.9% greater profitability when given feedback on their strengths and companies experienced 14.9% lower employee turnover.

Plus, being able to admit when your business has areas of improvement is the first step to them actually improving. It’s hard to grow your business without also embracing the tough conversations!

So, what are the right ways?
First of all, it’s important to provide a space for everyone at all levels to give and receive feedback. If feedback only comes from leadership, you may risk employees feeling like they aren’t safe to tell managers how they can improve.

Normalize that feedback is for everyone, by everyone, and provide different ways for employees to give feedback. Then, you and your team members can each find a method for giving feedback that works for you. Here are a few productive methods

  • BIQ. Our personal favorite: behavior, impact, and question. This method allows you to talk through the specific action, discuss what the impact was, and end with a question to spark dialogue. That way, your feedback has a firm foundation and gives your coworker an actionable way to think about change.
  • What/why. This short and sweet method is just like it sounds: when giving feedback, talk about what the person did and why it matters. Meaning, you are providing context for the particular behavior and its impact.
  • Sandwich feedback. Compliment, feedback, compliment. This method is a nice, introductory way to give feedback for those who might have a little trouble getting comfortable with hard conversations.

👉 Find more feedback methods.


This week's highlight reel

  • Subscribe now. Instagram has launched tests for its creator subscriptions program. The new feature allows followers to gain access to exclusive Instagram Live and Stories content through paid subscriptions.
  • Privacy protected. Password management app 1Password has raised $620M at a $6.8B valuation. The Canadian company, which manages passwords for businesses to share across teams, is using the investment to improve their product and double the size of their team.
  • Comeback. Tumblr, the microblogging platform first launched in 2007, is having a resurgence in popularity. Gen Z makes up 61% of the platform’s new users, and revenue is up 55% since July 2021.
  • Tough nut. Walnut, a sales and marketing demo platform, has raised $35M in Series B. The company allows businesses to build and pitch interactive product demos – no coding required

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