It's so tempting to seek out more strangers.
More strangers to pitch your business, your candidate, your non-profit, your blog… More strangers means more upside and not so much downside. It means growth.
The problem is that strangers are difficult to convert. And the other problem is that they're expensive to reach. And the hardest problem is that we're running out of strangers.
Consider this hierarchy: Strangers, Friends, Listeners, Customers, Sneezers, Fans and True Fans. One true fan is worth perhaps 10,000 times as much as a stranger. And yet if you're in search of strangers, odds are you're going to mistreat a true fan in order to seduce yet another stranger who probably won't reward you much.
Let's say a marketer has $10,000 to spend. Is it better to acquire new customers at $2,000 each (advertising is expensive) or spend $10 a customer to absolutely delight and overwhelm 1,000 true fans?
Or consider a non-profit looking to generate more donations. Is it better to embrace the core donor base and work with them to host small parties with their friends to spread the word, or would hiring a PR firm to get a bunch of articles placed pay off more efficiently?