Mario Sundar

LinkedIn's 2nd PR hire. These are my thoughts on products, public relations, and startups.

Evangelism & the Almighty Dollar

Recently, I wrote about Guy Kawasaki’s post on how the dollar bill actually impacts evangelism negatively:

That is, if a company brings money into an evangelistic relationship with its customers, it could create barriers and instead of incentives—for example, if Apple, Harley-Davidson, and Tivo paid their customers to spread the word.

However, I was glad to hear that the converse is not necessarily true. Actually, I read a Business Week article today (via Ben McConnell) that proved that customer evangelism can actually accentuate solid sales. In some cases (such as Karmaloop), it could contribute an astounding 15% of revenue:

Selling clothing dreamt up by customers is just one facet of a business model that brings customers so far into Karmaloop’s DNA that they have become, in effect, extensions of the company’s sales, marketing, and product development teams. Karmaloop has an 8,000-strong army of customers who proselytize the brand and get discounts or cash when they, or someone they’ve referred, make a purchase.

Not all companies can be Karmaloop, but the fact remains that within the DNA of EVERY company exists the word-of-mouth (WOM) gene that is responsible for any success a company has. And the faster you connect with that core target audience, the better it is for a company’s brand longevity and brand differentiation. Another company that is in the process of creating similar customer evangelists across different cities is Yelp. Read my thoughts on Yelp’s paid community evangelism.

Let me clarify that companies should NOT get into evangelism for the lure of the returns. However, they have a mandate to ENGAGE with their customer & prospects thereby creating a community of evangelists for the benefit of users & it’s SIMPLE. Here’s a 4-step How-to?:

1. Break the walls between customer, prospect, and employee

2. LISTEN

3. Respond

4. Repeat steps 2 and 3…

Read the entire Business Week article here!


Here are some services I absolutely LOVE! Are you a customer evangelist yourself?

Unleash your inner evangelist! Feel free to share your VOICE here. Post a comment.

Filed under: Miscellaneous

2 Responses

  1. […] This is an addendum to my recent post on Business Week’s article — True Believers. Here’s a second serving of quotes from the article, which also serves as an overview of how-to “connect, foster, and build” a community of evangelists: […]

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  2. […] Evangelism & the Almighty Dollar: ” […]

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