Seth Godin's blog, which is "must reading" for marketers...and other automation professionals should read him too just to find out what his take is on the near future of technology and society is...talks about the four basic types of customers...you know who you are, and automation marketers are trying to figure out which one of these buckets you fall into.
Strangers, Critics, Friends or Fans
The work you do when you spread the word or run an ad or invent a policy is likely aimed at one of these four groups.
Strangers are customers to be, but not yet
Critics are those that would speak ill of you, or need to be converted
Friends are those that might have given permission, or even buy now and then
Fans are members of your tribe, supporters and insiders
You already know the truth: can't please all these groups at once. And you also probably realize that each of us with an idea to spread has a knee jerk default, the one we lean to without thinking. Many marketers are evangelical, focused on strangers at all costs... they'd rather convert a new customer than revisit an old one. A cubicle worker, on the other hand, might focus on no one but the boss, at the expense of broadening her platform.
Before you launch anything, run down the list. How can you optimize for the group you truly care about? How much is that optimization worth? (Hint: a new true fan is worth a thousand times as much as a slightly mollified critic).
And to reinforce this, on a marketing discussion list (Market-L, the oldest marketing discussion list on the Internet), Prentis Hall, a very senior marketer for Air Products Corporation was talking about the new Domino's Is Different campaign:
Let's not assume this is an either or situation. You have five possible outcomes:
Among the base: Some will like the new recipe, some will not
Among the others: Some will like the new recipe, some will not, some will not try at all
My gut tells me that the "non-base" is significantly larger than the base, and the % of the base that is expected to switch is much smaller than the the # of new customers they expect to get. I would think they have estimates for these percentages based on quantitative research.
This is how companies grow through marketing.