This is not about those idlers who cram your office space arguing loudly over non-issues or those professional beggars who want everything for free. Give them a free ticket to concert and they will sure ask for drinks.
The world is in love with free things, no wonder philanthropy is now a full fledged industry and CSR the next big thing in corporate board rooms. Marketers too are discovering fresh insights on how to maximize on the free craze.
1. A bargaining Chip
The internet, just like politicians has perfected the art of creating billionaires from non paying clients. Yahoo, hot mail, face book, Instagram, LinkedIn are all premised on non-paying audience. All they do is create a platform where crowds flock-in and turn back to those looking for this crowd to pay them.
2. Advertising revenue
It is said that the price of a newspaper is just but a token to support orderly dispatch, otherwise the true cost of producing the Dailies and their profits lie with the advertisers who may not necessarily be the readers. Their game is therefore to lock in the readers and charge those looking to tap into this crowd.
In social media parlance, a sponsor is that man who pays for your upkeep in exchange for pecuniary benefits. In the business arena, sponsors support your initiatives for indirect benefits like advertising mileage, public relations and increased brand awareness.
Sponsors love crowds, big crowds. Corporate events and functions, like the Marketers Nights, the Rhino Charge and Mater Heart Run frequented by huge crowds are the darling of sponsors.
4. Purchase influencers
Non paying customers usually have vast product knowledge. Their loyalty is unquestionable. The power of their opinion is critical to close a sale. These are true and loyal fans who are ready to endorse the product.
5. Opinion shapers.
People are social beings. They prefer huddling together. That’s why the Kenyan Matatu industry has people designated to sit in the Matatus posing as customers to attract real passengers. They give the impression that the vehicle is nearly full and therefore other passengers rush-in to occupy the remaining seats only for them to disembark after fulfilling their mandate. Marketers require those who can swing public opinion in their favour.
6. Meeting targets
Most end year win promotions go along way to help in meeting annual targets. It is the easiest ways to pump up short term sales. Marketers can create win promotions at the crunch hour to cover themselves from the embarrassment of failure to meet targets.
It is imperative that every organization place a distinct value on their free customers and start a deliberate program to nurture and build this marketing dynamo. They are the engine that will propel the company to the next level.