Creating Customer Evangelists – LIFE APOCALYPSE – Jim Kukral Speaker *Mindset *Lifestyle *Impact *Purpose

Category Archives for "Creating Customer Evangelists"

$1 For Air?

My tire got a little bit low the other day so I stopped by the local gas station for a fill-up. Here’s what I found.


Yep. $1 for air.

Obviously that price is over the top for me and I’m guessing you as well. Sure, I MUST have the air, and they know that, so they can charge whatever they want, however, to me that price is outrageous and I’ll never go to that gas station again because of it.

There are a couple of points at work here.

#1: Luxury vs. Need
There is a definite difference between selling luxury items and need items and how you can price them. I NEED gas to get to work. I NEEDED air so my tire wouldn’t pop. When you’re selling needs, you can price pretty much how you wish, assuming you don’t have a competitor offering a lower priced choice. Because of this, I was forced to pay the $1.00 to get my tires filled up, even though I believe the price was too high.

The other side of this equation is selling luxury items. Water is a need, but bottled water is a luxury item. In other words, you don’t HAVE to have bottled water, but it’s nice to have. In this example, the people who sell bottled water can again charge way too much for something we don’t really need to have.

Are you selling luxury or needs? Really think about it. Then price accordingly. But be careful, read point #2.

#2: It’s Easy To Create Customer Evangelists & Even Easier To Lose Them
Just because I paid the $1.00 for air does not mean the gas station wins. In fact, they lose, big time. I will now purposely not go to that gas station for gas or food or drinks or anything, ever again. Why? Because they’re greedy. Why not make the air free? It’s air! If the air was free I’d remember that and make sure to go there more often. I’d buy my gas there and other things. I’d always remember that they gave me something I needed.

Think about the little silly things you charge customers for that you should probably be giving away for free. The barber should probably include the hot straight-razor shave at the end of every haircut. The restaurant should probably make kids drinks free instead of $2.99 on top of their meal.

Consider these examples:

  • What if a restaurant charged for salt/pepper and ketchup and mustard?
  • What if your mechanic charged you to read the magazines in the lobby while they changed your oil?

How much money are you really making from selling these extra things? Isn’t it possible that your customer is wondering why you’re trying to gouge them for every single little thing? At what point does your customer get fed up with this system and decide to take their business someplace else? How much revenue will you lose long-term because you’ve lost that customer?

These are important questions and thing to consider. Don’t charge $1.00 for air.

My Customers Will NEVER Use Social Media!

jfk_lookIn my presentation called “Beyond the Website” (watch here) I have a slide that says this.

“The Internet is for kids and geeks, and MY customers will never be online.” – Unnamed 1990’s executive.

I don’t remember where I found that quote online, and I have no idea if it’s real or not (I bet it is). But I love it because it illustrates the short-sighted approach that many people take when emerging trends and technologies grab the hearts and minds of the world.

The thing is, people are still saying that quote, but today they’re inserting social media in place of “the Internet”. You know, things like Twitter, and Facebook and Myspace and all the rest. All of those things are just for kids and geeks… right.

Let’s redo the quote for effect. You know you know somebody like this.

“Social media is for kids and geeks, and MY customers will never use social media.” – Unnamed executive.

At this point I could go on and on about how that’s a big fail waiting to happen, and most surely a pink slip for the person who said it down the road as their business lags behind competitors who didn’t think that way.

However… let’s not do that. Let’s prove them wrong. On another slide in my presentation I point to a BusinessWeek piece that defines the 6 types of social media users.

BIG Image of above graphic

If you could really dig into this slide you would see that it’s not just kids that are using social media. The scale skews to younger, sure, but in fact, this data (which is two years old btw) does indeed show a major trend toward “older” people using social media in all kinds of facets.

Ignore social media at your own peril. This is your last warning!

Wine School with Gary Vaynerchuk

A few weeks ago I got to spend a day and a night hanging out with Gary Vaynerchuk of as he was in town for a book signing. The full video experience of my time spent with him will come later, but for now, I have a video about a person I met who was in Gary’s entourage… Marianne Frantz of the Cleveland Wine School.

The video below is an interview I did with Marianne about the Cleveland Wine School, with a funny impromptu appearance from Gary V in a few places. Pretty funny. The video was shot at lunch after a live taping of the Thunder show with Gary in Cleveland Browns Stadium (personal video on that to come later). Go watch, great episode.

Why am I posting this video about a regional company when my blog is read by thousands of people who don’t live in Cleveland? Well, it’s a perfect example of how anyone can make a video commercial for their company with a simple inexpensive camera. Something I encourage all businesses to do. Tell me this isn’t a video you’d like to show to your customers to educate them about your business?

The whole thing took me 10 minutes to edit, and by using the Flip camera, easy to record. Why aren’t you doing video yet? Give me a ring so I can help you get on it, or sign up for my free Online Video Toolkit for some free advice.

Here’s the video on Youtube if you wish to view it there.

Businesses Don’t Get Customer Evangelism

Brands still don’t get customer evangelists. I know this because I am one, for two different products, and I do not feel the love I should. The video below talks about those experiences and about why more brands need to get smart and being to embrace the customer evangelists they have.

Not to mention, companies should actively go out and seek these evangelists, then keep them. But they’re not doing that yet and I can’t figure out why? Maybe it’s still fear of losing control. I don’t get that.

If you’re a company that understands customer evangelists, let me know… I’d like to hear from you. I’ll tell you what. I’m “this” close to firing Pure Digital and finding another product to evangelize about.

Check out Jackie and Ben’s book on the topic.

Does Your Product Or Service “Just Work”?

You know your product or service is great (far above average) when you can get someone to say…

“It just works”.

That’s it. It’s the highest compliment you can get.

“It just works” is a very powerful phrase in this day and age. Especially when it comes to choosing between several items you may be shopping for. Case in point.

I have been researching whether or not to upgrade my Sony Vegas from 7.0 to 8.0 Pro. So I did some researching around and in a forum I caught this comment. Bold is mine.

It’s user interface and workflow are unsurpassed in my opinion, assembling a movie is way easier than in other programs. Thus, it’s very stable and “just works”.


Does your product or service “just work”? Sometimes that’s all you really need to do. Create a strong product and make it the best it can be and make sure it does what it says it does.

I Want To Be Gary Vaynerchuk

Forget the wine. I know nothing about wine. I don’t drink wine. Don’t really even like it unless its got a screw cap and I can buy it at the grocery store every once in a while. So forget wine…

I want to be Gary Vaynerchuk because…

Well, I don’t really want to be him, but I want to be able to entertain like him. I want to be able to engage my readers and viewers like he does. I want to be able to get them to participate and crave my content like he does.

It’s not the wine that makes Gary’s show good… it’s Gary.

It’s his passion for what he’s talking about. It’s his gusto in his delivery and his charm. Ok, this is starting to sound kinda creepy, sorry. I assure you, my “love” for Gary is purely an admiration for all of the things mentioned above. Also his marketing skills. His website is well done and he’s using social media VERY well to drive his brand. I’m learning a lot.

So Gary, thanks for the inspiration as I’m getting ready to do my own daily show soon, and I’m glad to have met you in Vegas. Oh yeah, and thanks for doing the sake episode.

I’ve added the widget to my sidebar so I’m hoping to win the guest seat on Gary’s show. But does he really want someone on there who doesn’t drink wine and who has never tasted anything more than a two buck chuck?

Could be interesting… just saying. Besides, the Browns will have beaten the Jets by that date?

Here’s me interviewing Gary in Vegas last month.

Cnet Misses The Point About Conversational Marketing

Cnet misses the point, completely.


Who asked marketers to join readers online?… I’m suspicious when the “conversation” is initiated by the marketer and not the consumer.

I got news for you. The consumers asked for the marketers to do this. No, they demanded they do it. And it’s working for both parties.

I can’t help but view conversational marketing as a thinly veiled attempt by the ad industry to insinuate itself into the popular social media craze. Calling it a “conversation” makes it sound benign and implies that it is consensual.

What would you propose we continue on with then? Traditional one-way eat shit and like it advertising models?

You’re missing the point Elinor. This is a good thing, not a meaningless effort.

Everyone else is on board and is liking the results. Why aren’t you? Let go of the past and embrace progress.

What’s The Worst Thing You Could Do To A Customer Evangelist?

book-3d-cce.jpgThought of the day: What would be the dumbest thing you could do to someone who loves your product so much that they are evangelical about it? Any guesses? But first off, what is a customer evangelist?

What is customer evangelism?

When customers are truly thrilled about their experience with your product or service, they can become outspoken “evangelists” for your company. This group of satisfied believers can be converted into a potent marketing force to grow your universe of customers.

The answer to the question above (What’s the worst thing you could do?)

Answer… waste that person’s/evangelist’s valuable time.

Business is business. Time is money.

I don’t get emotional about business rules. I get emotional about my time being wasted, because I don’t have a lot of it. I sit at this computer 14+ hours a day. When I go into a project I pour my heart and soul into it and spend a lot of time on it.

Do NOT waste my time. Rant over.

Go read this book please.

Traditional Advertising Models Are Collapsing… Smell The Fear!

Are you ready? Here comes more creative uses of online video. Check out this piece in the Washington Post about brand evangelism.

The traditional advertising models are collapsing. Where once there were mass media, with the audience a passive receptacle, we are moving toward what branding expert Rob Frankel calls “the masses controlling the media.” An audience empowered by hundreds of cable channels and TiVo pays less and less mind to TV ads. And the marketers, well, some might suggest they are desperate.

“You can smell the fear,” Garfield says.

Which means that smart marketers will figure out how to get the people to do much of their work for them. The big marketing story of this year’s Super Bowl was “consumer-generated advertising,” in which ordinary folks competed to help create TV spots for Doritos and Chevrolet.

And it’s not only about getting your audience involved. It can be done the other way, by creating your own engaging content that your audience wants to see.

For example, look at this site called

The kitchen appliance company Blendtec has a microsite called, which functions as a laboratory of unlikely things getting pureed in Blendtec blenders, including pickled pigs’ feet and light bulbs. Users can send a note to the Will It Blend? site to suggest a new item to be blended — a shag rug, perhaps.

So very, very smart. I mean, c’mon, don’t you have to know if a video camera will blend? What about a baseball?

Man, I want one of those super blenders, don’t you?

What are you creating that is engaging? Are you concentrating your marketing efforts on building content that will grab hold of your audience?