“Mavens” are very often the best – or worst – friends a business or industry can have.
In his best-selling book, The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell defines a maven as “one who accumulates knowledge.”
In a business sense, mavens are the super-fans who make it a priority to know everything there is to know about a certain product, and how it stacks up against the competition.
In theory, one maven is worth 10 average customers, because these people use word of mouth to suggest great ideas to friends and colleagues.
Here are three proven examples of best-in-class companies that catered to industry mavens to boost sales, loyalty and satisfaction across the board:
- Ivory Soap. Years ago, Ivory added a 1-800 number to the back of all its labels, encouraging buyers to call with any questions. While it might seem a bit odd to have questions about soap, Ivory realized a high percentage of people who would call were actually soap mavens. The company showered them with gifts, and increased its standing (and sales) in the soap community. Now listing 1-800 numbers on product labels is industry standard.
- Lexus. Shortly after Lexus launched a series of luxury cars in the U.S., the company suffered a minor recall. Realizing most early buyers were car mavens, Lexus actually assumed the cost to send personal mechanics to points far and wide so the buyers wouldn’t have to lift a finger. The superb reaction and subsequent boost in sales has since made the practice of reaching out to customers in the case of a recall (rather than leaving it up to them to find out on their own) an auto industry norm.
- ITT Financial. When IRAs first hit the market, ITT catered heavily to teachers, because it realized how many parents the average teacher had contact with on a regular basis. Those teachers, in turn, taught parents how to invest their money wisely with ITT.