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Marketing Cheat Sheet: The 4 Types of Customers and How to Win Them Over

Great marketing is multi-dimensional, just like human behavior
by Sarah Moriarty | Feb 19 2015
Here are the four types of customers you should know about. Do you know how to treat them all right?


Think for a moment about all the businesses you’ve come in contact with. Were there one or two you were wary about at first, but eventually grew to love? Maybe they gave you a free trial of their music streaming service, or a free sample of their cupcakes. Whatever it was that tipped your opinion into the positive, their great marketing game turned you from a prospective customer into a client. If they were really good, they’ve even kept you hooked and speaking highly of them up through today.

But do you know what it is they’re doing so right?

People have fear, love, obsession, hatred, even ambivalence toward products and services – and you’ve got to know how to play to the whole, complicated spectrum. In Duct Tape Marketing, John Jantsch clues us in on the four kinds of customer segments that any great marketing strategy can’t miss. Here’s who you need to know:

Customer Group #1, The Suspects

Who they are: Everyone out there who hasn’t come in contact with your business yet, but fits the description of your ideal customer.

How to get their attention: Think about what really grabs people. Offering a test product, interesting information, or a free workshop can be an immediate draw. Content marketing fits in well here. Start a blog about your field to interest the millions of potential suspects who are online every day.

Customer Group #2, The Prospects

Who they are: The people who have responded to or interacted with your business in some way, and want more information. They may have signed up for your email list or liked your Facebook page.

How to reel them in: Think of Prospects as the folks who pop their heads into rooms to get a peek at what’s happening. What will make them step inside? Since they’ve already shown interest, give them a discount or trial to sway their decision in your favor.

Customer Group #3, The Clients

Who they are: People who have already tried your product or service.

How to keep them coming back: When clients buy your product or use your service again and again, they’re known as the repeat clients (and this means you’re doing something right!). Continue to offer periodic discounts, freebies, and rewards to increase their loyalty.

Customer Group #4, The Champions

Who they are: The word-of-mouth rockstars, the leaders of your customer base. These are the people who can’t resist telling others about your business. They’re one of the best kinds of advertisements.

How to reward them: These customers indirectly work for you, so treat them well! Memberships and reward programs are great ways to show how much you appreciate them.

A quick note: at the beginning, it’s normal to have many Suspects and just a few Champions. But if you play your cards right, the balance will flip in your favor over time. So make sure to keep these four segments in mind while putting together your next marketing campaign.

Read about more marketing hacks in John Jantsch’s Duct Tape Marketing. You can also get the key insights from the 15-minute book summary in blinks.

Image Credit: “First customers” by Licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.
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