Don't treat customers like friends...

Feb 11, 2021 5:21 pm


Slow yo' roll, brand-ey, it's a little early to be acting like we're buddies, mmkay?

Hello Content Creators!

This sounds counter-intuitive, right?

You want to think of your best customers like friends. Loyal pals who'd stick with you through thick and thin.

There are customers like that, but they're hard earned over time.

The problem is with new customers


Or, potential customers that aren't even customers yet, let alone "friends".

That screen grab up above is a perfect example.

Recently, a well-known road cycling publication launched a mountain bike publication. So they published a letter introducing it to their core readership of road cyclists.

These road cyclists were the target audience; the potential new customer.

But the letter was written by someone from the mountain bike side. Someone trying to sell them on something. Someone they don't know and with whom they have no relationship.

The letter was snarky and playful, poking fun at some of the differences between roadies and mountain bikers. But in a way that ribbed the roadies a bit for not being mountain bikers.

And it didn't go over well

Because the roadies and the author weren't friends.

Personally, I know the guy that wrote that letter. He's a nice guy. We've shared beers. And I know he was just being playful with his words.

He wrote the kind of letter he'd give to his close friends who are also road cyclists, and they'd take it as the gentle, friendly ribbing it was intended to be.

But only because they had a long term relationship.

The road cycling publication's readers? Not so much.

They have no idea who this guy is.

To them, it was a little condescending.

It didn't matter how well written the letter was, it was doomed from the start because it was written for the wrong audience. Or, more accurately, written incorrectly for the intended audience.

What's the point?

The point is, these road cyclists were new, potential customers for the MTB mag.

This letter should have courted them on their terms, explained why they might want to read it without the wink-wink-nod-nod that we can get away with between friends.

Be careful about doing this with your own marketing.

If you're using inside jokes, they may not resonate (at best) or sound offensively tone deaf (at worse).

If you're poking fun at the establishment, make sure your potential customers aren't the establishment.

If you're denigrating the way they're doing things, you better make sure that they don't like the way they're doing things.

Otherwise, you're just going to sound like an a-hole.

And nobody likes an a-hole.

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A Recent Content Project


Last week, I shared the video I did for Bentonville, Arkansas's Chamber of Commerce and tourism board. You can watch that on YouTube here.

This week, I wanted to share the story that goes with it.

The written post takes a different approach, counting down the Top 10 reasons you'd want to head to Bentonville. While the gist of it is a relocation/recruitment effort, I left it vague enough that it works as a vacation piece, too.

Here are a few takeaways for both brands and destinations:

  • If you're a brand trying to get media & influencers to visit your HQ or factory, talk to your local Chamber or DMO (Destination Marketing Organization). They often have budgets for stories promoting the area, and nothing promotes an area like showing how local businesses are succeeding there!
  • If you're a destination, talk to local brands and see who their endemic media are, then work together.
  • Destinations can also look at core groups (like cyclists, or birdwatchers, or whatever) and find the core media and influencers in those spaces, then invite them to experience those activities on site.
  • Present unique bits of info to each outlet. Otherwise, you end up with very similar stories on multiple media outlets, which can become boring for people researching your area (need proof, search the major travel sites/mags for a piece on [pick a destination] and chances are good you'll see the same images and same highlights in most of them). It's worth the extra effort to assist the outlet in covering things relevant to their specific audience.

And, you know, if you're looking for a killer adventure/travel/cycling story on your area or brand, hit me up. I have an audience for that...

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Cool Stuff I've Found


This week, it's just one thing, but I really love these things!

Jaybird's Vista wireless earbuds are small, ultralight, and work great during exercise. I've been able to take a call even while riding, and three different ear "wings" customize the fit so they won't fall out even during hard, bouncy, parkour-y efforts.

The left and right are completely independent, so I can use just one at a time if I want to keep one ear when I'm cycling. Even with the wind blowing past at 20mph, the sound quality is solid, and clear enough to listen to podcasts without jacking the volume up.

They're also great for Zoom calls, so there's no headphone cable yanking my laptop almost off my desk when I recline in my chair!

Their case packs a battery to recharge them between sessions, giving them seemingly endless battery life. They're way more stealthy than Air Pods, and they're a lot more affordable, too (plus, they're $30 off through Feb 13!).

Sound(s) nice,


Tyler Benedict

PS - If you like this, please forward it to a friend... Thanks!

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*Any items, services, or products mentioned in these emails are provided solely because I think you'll like them. Some links might be affiliate links, which earns me a small commission and helps support all the free content. Thanks!