Copernicus, a Waltham, MA marketing consulting firm has released “Seven Marketing Strategies to Avoid.” Note that #6 makes a strong validation for seeking out your “zealots” in an economy like ours:

#6: Making too many false friends….when it comes to brand loyalty.

While it’s tempting to believe that the “heavy buyers” or “heavy users”–the 20% of customers that account for 70% or even 80% of sales–are a marketer’s best friends, it’s just not always the case. Just ask Saks Fifth Avenue. After discovering the folks it thought were its “best customers” were hardly the most loyal of the lot, the firm set to work to find its “real friends”–the customers with positive attitudes, feelings, and perceptions of its brands, stores, and merchandise–and develop a closer relationship with them.”

Looking at a sales report profiling your highest-spending customers is simply not enough to profile your “best customers.”  Just because they spend money with your brand doesn’t mean they like you, and certainly doesn’t mean they’re loyal.

Just think of the brands you spend money with that you’re not satisfied with – that if given the chance or a better opportunity – you’d easily switch to another. It might be a cable provider, an airline, a bank.  And then consider those brands you’re a Zealot for, those brands you love, talk to your peers about and spread the positive word.

Do you really know who your best customers are?