Do you know your whales and high-rollers?

White BreachThere’s much ado these days about Zynga.  I love Zynga’s model of selling “virtual” products which just happen to be costless.  It’s equivalent to selling bottled water or canned air.

Another interesting aspect of Zynga is the whale phenomenon.   A small population of Zynga’s customers account for the vast majority of its revenues.  In Zynga’s case, Business Insider reports that 2.4% of their users actually contribute revenue (inference: 97.6% of users don’t contribute revenue!).  This is similar to the 80/20 rule (only more so).  20% of customers (or less) account for 80% of revenues (or more).

These are like high rollers in casinos or heavy users in fast food restaurants. Naturally, Zynga bends over backwards to identify, please, satisfy, and upsell its whales.

Who are your whales?

Develop a system to identify and keep track of your whales.  Use your accounting software to print out a breakdown of sales by customer.  E-mail or call these customers.  Send them birthday cards.  Let them know you appreciate their business.

More importantly, get to know them, learn about them, and listen to them.  Make them happy and find more of them.

[Image: White Breach by erikogan, on Flickr]

About Mark P. Holtzman

Chair of Accounting Department at Seton Hall University. PhD from The University of Texas at Austin. Worked at Deloitte's New York Office. BSBA from Hofstra University.

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