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The String Cheese Incident has Great Customer Intuition

SciphotoI have to admit that I had never heard of the band String Cheese Incident before I read the article in FSB magazine. Turns out this band is really crafting a new model for others in the music industry. The String Cheese Incident is a multi million dollar operation with 45 employees and revenue of $14.5 million dollars.

The story really gets interesting when you read how intuitive they are when it comes to discerning the needs and desires of their customers=fans. Not only do they publish and market their own CDs and merchandise through their website, they have fought Ticketmaster and won the ability to handle their own ticketing to their live concerts. A popular move with fans tired of paying the high Ticketmaster fees.

How else have they intuited the needs and desires of their fans? Realizing that their fanbase is not unlike that of the Grateful Dead in their desire to follow the band. The String Cheese Incident has formed a travel company to help make travel arrangements for those wanting to follow the band on tour. The appeal being that the agency knows the needs of both fans following their favorite acts and the travel needs of musicians themselves. The company also arranges travel for other bands as well.

Additionally, the String Cheese Incident supports their fans efforts to evangelize their music and bring new fans to the band by selling MP3s of their live performances on their website. The files are reported to be free of copy protection thereby enabling fans to share them with their friends.

In your own business is their a sister need that your customers have that you could help them with? It's like selling milk to go with your cereal or hammer to go with those nails.


More ways to Build Customer Intuition.

January 17, 2005 in Award winning publications, Blog Outsourcing, blog publish, Brand enhancement, Travel | Permalink


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Savvy companies have long taken a hard, sweeping look at what their customers wanted and succeeded by offering more of what they want and - even if those desires are only tangentially linked to the company's core product. The classic example is how AMR's, American Airliness parent, spawned the Sabre system. According to Hoovers, Sabre is now the world's no. 1 computerized travel reservation system. Even as the airline industry has taken hit trouble at high speeds, the reservation industry has thrived.

Of course, there is risk involved in this approach. The number one risk is losing your edge on your core product, spreading your people and resources too thin as you develop another effort. Let's hope The String Cheese Incident keeps playing good music or fans won't even bother to book those seats on its travel service. Then again, The String Cheese Incident might end up as the next great travel service for groupies.

Posted by: Susan Fisher | Jan 17, 2005 10:09:01 AM