A Superconsumer is the kind of person who knows your category better than anyone else. On average, they spend more, tell more people about your business, and gift your products at a higher rate. And they can unlock exponential growth for your business in adjacent categories.
For example, if you’re a movie Superconsumer, what else are you probably a Super of?
Once you understand that a Superconsumer of 1 category is also a Superconsumer of 9 other categories, you can see different categories worth exploring.
Let's dive in.
To find your Supers, start by asking yourself these 7 questions:
Every Superconsumer has an origin story.
When you understand how your Supers became who they are, you will also understand their drivers, their aspirations, and why they care so deeply.
Once you know who your Supers are, the second question is, “Where are they?”
The most effective way to find where your Supers hang out is by converting your customer data into a per-capita metric by zip code. We call these Supergeos. (Check out what we wrote in HBR about Supergeos for more info.)
No data is more powerful for your business than finding local regions with clusters of your Supers. For example, a while back, Ben & Jerry’s discovered that 3,000 grocery stores (<10%) drove half the sales of all Cherry Garcia SKUs. That meant that advertising in 90% of grocery stores in America was largely a waste of money.
Or let’s say you’re a startup trying to figure out where to launch your lightning strike. Wouldn’t it be helpful to launch your startup in a local area that is hot and heavy with Superconsumers?
WHO and WHERE are the lowest hanging fruit to find.
But WHEN is also a great place to hunt for Supers—however this can be a heavily analytic exercise. We are literally talking about what season, month, week, day, time of day, and second Supers shop compared to the rest of the category.
This matters because an incredible amount of conventional wisdom can be overturned here. For example, the conventional wisdom for sparkling wine is that the holidays (Christmas and New Year’s Eve) are the peak times to sell. Every company and brand of sparkling wine then spends most of their marketing and promotion dollars there—and ends up in a race to the bottom as a result.
What goes unnoticed in the sparking wine category is that Supers also buy surplus amounts on other holidays as well, notably Memorial Day until Labor Day.
That’s because Supers are the queens of incremental, clever use cases for the category. And sparking wine Supers are consumers who love cold, refreshing, bubbly alcoholic drinks—for any occasion. Said differently, they swap out beer for sparking wine whenever possible.
Understanding WHEN Supers buy can deliver a tremendous amount of operating profit, simply by targeting Supers during low seasonal periods when a company may not be covering fixed costs and avoiding high seasons where no one makes profit.
How your Supers behave is paramount to understanding how to maximize lifetime customer value and happiness.
These are the sorts of questions that help you understand which points of friction in your business are most important to solve, first. Because the less friction there is, specifically for your Supers, the faster you are going to grow revenues—because again, your Supers are the ones spending 30% to 70% more than other less enthusiastic customers.
For example, Amazon spends a considerable amount of time, money, and energy on continuously improving its return process. This is antithetical to the way many company leaders think. But Amazon understands that if returns are easy, the number one barrier for potential eCommerce Supers is removed.
Understanding the “shopping mission” is critical to unearthing the real reason why Supers buy whatever it is they buy.
Now here’s where things start getting fun.
What else are your Supers interested in? More specifically, if you know the 9 categories the Supers are Supers in, what might be the 10th category that has yet to be created?
This question becomes infinitely easier to answer once you’ve taken the time to gather data and insights from the preceding questions. The way to answer it is by playing The VC Game with your leadership team, and ensuring everyone has the above context walking into the session. And then, once everyone has this context, you can productively ask the question, “So what else does this Superconsumer want? What else would they be interested in, appreciate, and become excited about?”
This is how you design a new category breakthrough.
Once you understand why, you have a category breakthrough on your hands.
For example, Honda Civics sell like crazy in Southern California. Why? Because customers trick them out like the cars in The Fast and the Furious movies. Understanding this WHY is crucial because, if you’re Honda, wouldn’t it be smart to tap into that Superconsumer behavior?
Why do your Supers do what they do? What do they get excited about whatever it is they get excited about? Why do they love what they love?
Is there a ceiling? If so, how much?
What’s incredible about Superconsumers is that if you can tap into their wants, needs, and desires, you’ll discover they are willing to pay a premo-premium for the things they just can’t get enough of. For example, a regular consumer of “scissors” might only spend $5 in the category over the course of a few years. But a Superconsumer of “scissors,” someone who loves scrapbooking or home projects, might spend upwards of $100 on scissors—maybe even $100 per month, multiple months out of the year (scissors with different handles and lengths, scissors for different kinds of projects, etc.).
If you can tap into Superconsumers' wants, needs, and desires, you’ll discover they are willing to pay a premium for the things they love.
All of these questions, together, create your Data Flywheel.
The purpose of the data flywheel is not to capture data for data’s sake. The purpose of building a data flywheel for your business is to better serve your Superconsumers—which fuels profitability, which drives continued customer and data acquisition, which allows you to better anticipate the next compelling category (for your Supers) worth creating, all of which allows you to maintain your leadership position in the category.
Without your Supers, you are just another company churning & burning away, accelerating your customer acquisition costs but not actually increasing the lifetime value of your customers.
If you want to make sure you are innovating in the right direction, go talk to your Supers.
It’s the quickest way to find clarity—and understand why the smartest decision you’ll ever make as an entrepreneur, marketer, investor, or creator is building for THEM.
Why? Because Superconsumers are:
Instead of asking all of your customers what they think of your product or service (resulting in a mixed bag of contradictory feedback), focus on building relationships with the 10% who live and breathe your category of product (not just the top 10% of your customers).
They are receptive to the new. They are looking for “different.”
And if you can get even 1% of the Supers in the top 10% of consumers in the category connected to your new and different future, you’ll become the Category King.
Your Supers will tell other Supers. And so on, and so on…