Warning for some people the following article will come across as just Marketing 101.  Thinking “I already know this stuff” or “I’ve read it before” may make you guilty of premature closure which is a lot like premature evaluation. 😉  We all need to remind ourselves that the keys to mastery are found in the basics.  There are marketing gems here that have the potential to make quantum leaps to your business. Whether they are revealed to you or not will depend on how open you are to the possibilities. To get the maximum benefit from the concepts keep asking yourself  ‘how does this apply to my business?’ and ‘how can I add this to my own marketing mix?’.

Marketing to 4 groups

To put us all on the same page let’s begin with a marketing definition for each group of people in the buying cycle – Suspects, Prospects, Customers or Clients, Evangelists or Advocates.


Suspects are people you suspect are interested in your products or services. You suspect that they are out there, and you may do things like market or keyword research to confirm your suspicions, but they are still just Suspects.


Prospects are people who have given you permission to ‘follow-up’ with them. Leaving a message on your phone, giving you their business card, or filling out a contact form on your website are all examples of people giving you permission to ‘follow-up’ with them.  If you cannot ‘follow-up’ with them because you did not capture their contact details, they are NOT Prospects… they are still just Suspects.

Prospects are more valuable to your business than Suspects because they are closer to the sale.

Customers / Clients

Customers are people who buy your products. Clients are people who invest in your services.  There is often an unwritten rule that Customers pay for products up front while Clients pay for services after they have received them.

Unless it states ‘My Hobby’ on your business card, Customers / Clients are more valuable to your business than Suspects and Prospects because they pay you money.

Evangelists / Advocates

Evangelists (or Advocates if you want to sound less religious) are people who not only buy your products and services, they sell for you as well. They are your raving fans who love to tell everyone how great your products and services are.

Evangelists spread the word. They bring you the most referrals. They are the power behind word of mouth marketing. Evangelists make products or services go viral.

Business owners who recognise the importance of having Evangelists in their business understand that it is just as ridiculous to have a product or service that no one will ‘sell’ for you as it is to have a product or service that no one will ‘buy’ from you.

Evangelists are more valuable than Customers because they not only pay you, they bring other people to you who pay you as well.  Have you considered Evangelists as part of your marketing plan?