Show Customers Customers

People think like other people so customers think like other customers.

A psychological phenomenon takes place when we make decisions.

In any such situation, we determine what’s right or wrong for us.

We look for answers to give us confidence in our decision-making and we usually look at the actions and experiences of others.

Others who have been in similar situations to those we find ourselves in.

Vlad Tepes was Prince of Wallachia in the 15th century.

He ruled the regions of the Southern Carpathians and the Danube in modern day Romania.

During three reigns he fought battles against the Ottoman Turkish Empire.

In 1462, Sultan Mehmed II and his Ottoman army advanced on Wallachia.

As they arrived, they were met by the sight of 20,000 impaled corpses.

Vlad had impaled the torsos of his defeated enemies with stakes, erecting them in the ground for all to see.

It was an atrocious sight and was enough for the Ottoman army to flee.

Vlad’s fortress, Targoviste Castle, is known for having its surrounding grounds littered with impaled corpses.

Showing everyone who he’s defeated, that tried to defeat him.

Sending out a clear message for all to see – those who come into contact with Vlad’s armies will end up the same.

So he doesn’t need to say anything. He lets his work do the talking.

Typically, organisations can focus their efforts on inbound or outbound new business activities.

They can adopt an aggressive sales approach.

Or they can adopt a more reserved marketing approach.

I think the best way to attract customers is to show them other people (like them) who are already customers.

People conform to the actions of others and believe that those actions represent correct behaviour.

Herd mentality. Social proof. Social comparison. Group thinking. Whatever you want to call it…

If you can show off those who you’ve worked with, you’ll attract more like them.

You also won’t need to adopt an aggressive sales approach.

Because your work will also do the talking.

You may think that it’s not as easy as including case studies and testimonials in your marketing.

And you’re right it isn’t.

But there are creative ways of using your customers or your past relationships or your experiences.

A famous BMW advert read: “You know you’re not the first, but do you really care?”

The ad also features an attractive woman representative of a used BMW car. This is a sexist ad, I don’t disagree.

But the concept is good, as the ad — and BMW — need say no more. Certainly nothing about their cars.

The ad is saying that there’s nothing wrong with a used BMW car. It’s still a great car.

Aston Martin also ran this kind of advert in the past because this type of association with current or previous users of a product can work wonders.

If people think like other people, then customers think like other customers.

Vlad Tepes’ methods are extreme.

Upper limits of Vlad’s combined executions put the death toll at around 100,000.

But this is a violent period in history. Executions were common around the world.

Vlad Tepes just found a way to for his executions to go further so the actions of others were made clear for everyone to see.

Which would of course then influence their next move.

It earned him the nickname Vlad the Impaler.

And later on, Vlad Dracula.

And stories spread about his cruelty that put fear in minds of those who opposed him – in most cases, opposition with bigger armies and better resources.

Which is exactly what he wanted.

People got the message.

Without a message even needing to be delivered.

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3 thoughts on “Show Customers Customers

  1. I love your Historical stories Gareth but I did think that from the title of your blog that you were going to talk about potential customers seeing people who had bought before to encourage them to do the same.

    1. Thanks, Emma. Appreciate you stopping by, reading and commenting. It’s a fascinating, albeit, morbid story.

      I do mention this briefly, honest! 🙂 I think that if anyone can promote themselves by showcasing their customers – associating in this way via social proof – then a lot of the hard marketing/sales work is already done.

      I have also written about something similar (reviews and reputation management) more recently:

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