Why Stealing Customers Sucks

Bookmark and Share

Scenario: "Dude, we'll just offer a better solution with our big-juicy specs! Then, we'll steal their customers! Yay!" Answer these for a sec:

  1. Where do you buy your jeans?
  2. Where do you exercise?
  3. Where do you get your haircut?
  4. Where do you buy your grocery?
  5. Where do you eat lunch?

Probably: At the same spot. We humans are a weird, robotic bunch: We stick with familiar experiences. We're afraid of change -- instead, sticking to what we know. When some marketer tries to interrupt our familiar experiences, we usually push back -- telling them:

  • "Yo! I don't know who you! You don't know me! I like my current brand, sucka. Wahoo!"

"Stealing" customers, then, becomes one tough dealio. If you're gunning to gain market share, seek overlooked customer segments. We'll explain why that's smarter and sexier.

The Coke vs. Pepsi Test

You normally choose:

  • a) Coke
  • b) Pepsi

Did'ya answer Coke? You probably drank it when you were a child. What if you chose Pepsi? Similarly, you started drinking it when you were yay-high. The Psych community has a term for our familiar behaviors: "Consistency." The biases of our psychological minds at play:

  1. If we choose Bottle A -- and we don't have some whacko experience with it, then it's likely we'll choose Bottle A again.
  2. Now, if we choose Bottle A a 2nd time, then we boost our chances even higher of choosing Bottle A the 3rd time.
  3. So, if we choose Bottle A the 3rd time, our chances again increase exponentially of choosing Bottle A the 4th time.
  4. Etc.

Our minds love familiar experiences. Anything that breaks that equilibrium scares us. Marketers can rarely break that normality -- and in most cases if they try: waste their resources. If you're marketing your shizzle: Switch your focus from 'stealing established customers' to 'seeking overlooked customers'. It's a concept inspired by one of our superheroes, Harvard's Clayten Christensen.

How to Seek Overlooked Customers

Who are your direct competitors hating on (i.e. overlooking)? Shazam! Your badass just found yourself a sweet target market. If you're still confused, consider:

The Vietnamese Noodle Soup (a.k.a. Pho) Scenario

You tell yourself: "Hey, almost all Pho shops target the Vietnamese community!" So, with your awesome business sense, you tell yourself:

  1. "I can't target the Vietnamese community because it's too hard to steal customers."
  2. "Instead, I'll target my Pho restaurant to the American-born contingent."
  3. "No one directly targets them, so I have a huge advantage."

So, you start building a Pho restaurant that caters to the American-born contingent in your community; features include:

  1. English-friendly company name.
  2. Menus in English-only text (Vietnamese optional).
  3. Waiters/waitresses who have a sexy command of the English language (i.e. English-first speakers).
  4. American-style restaurant layout, with Americanized branding.
  5. Ads in newspapers and magazines targeting the American-born contingent.

In other words -- similar to Panda Express doing it for Chinese food, you build an Americanized Pho restaurant. The Benefits? Instead of "stealing" customers, you target a huge bulk who:

  1. aren't so familiar with Pho restaurants,
  2. aren't so established with particular restaurants, and
  3. dying to find an established place that directly welcomes people like them.

Result? Ka-ching for your badass.

Wise to Steal?

Sure, you could try to "steal" customers from established brands. But, you'll have an easier road targeting those who aren't directly loved by the more established businesses. The awesome side-effect: You'll start building a dedicated bunch passionate about affecting the masses.

  1. Starbucks did it with coffee aficionados.
  2. Nike did it with elite track runners.
  3. Apple did it with designers.
  4. FedEx did it with procrastinating executives.
  5. Google and Digg did it with techies.

Say No! to stealing customers. Instead, ask your badass:

"Who's my industry hating on?"


If you enjoyed Why Stealing Customers Sucks, get a complimentary subscription to our freshest articles through email or through your feed reader.

Posted on February 26

WTH is Trizle?

Trizle helps you rock ___ with your business.


Get a complimentary subscription to our freshest articles through email or through your feed reader.

Don't Miss Out!

Subscribe to Trizle through email or through your feed reader.