Can your business have 1,000 True Fans?

by Jason Preston on March 5, 2008

If you haven’t heard about “1,000 True Fans” yet, you should go read Kevin Kelly’s post.

In it, he argues (roughly) that that the Long Tail creates a problem for any creator: how do you make a living? Kelly’s solution is that an artist must find their 1,000 True Fans, and through the use of new digital technologies, rely on that “sweet spot” for a realistic living.

Or, in his words:

But the point of this strategy is to say that you don’t need a hit to survive. You don’t need to aim for the short head of best-sellerdom to escape the long tail. There is a place in the middle, that is not very far away from the tail, where you can at least make a living. That mid-way haven is called 1,000 True Fans. It is an alternate destination for an artist to aim for.

For the more detailed version, go read his post.

He writes for “artists,” but I think the concept absolutely applies to a business. In the digital “Long Tail” world, not every business can be a “hit.” But wallowing at the long end of the spectrum is not the only other option.

By using new technology — blogs, social media — you can connect with a core group of customers that will be your “True Customers.” They could provide a support base for your business and allow you to reach out and grow in different areas.

It’s an interesting idea.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Navtej Kohli 03.07.08 at 3:31 pm

Yes this is true.. This concept applies to every business.. That is what customer service is for…based on C.A.R.I.N.G Concept that includes Consistency, Attentiveness, Reliability, Individualized, Notable and Generosity towards customers. Through Blogs and social media, businesses can maintain relationships with customers and with proper CARING they will b’come True Fans. I could do some of those, I m sure..

2 Jay, writer 03.09.08 at 7:35 am

I wonder where the basis for 1,000 came from? I guess I should check out the more detailed report. However, the idea sounds logical enough. If you have a steady fan group of 1,000, I think you’re all set. Besides, each fan might add five or ten more temporary fans that could either bring your business for a while or convert into true admirers themselves.

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