Marquee customers are essential to launch an enterprise likely to reach over $1 Billion in revenue, David Thompson asserts in Blueprint to a Billion. They are critical early in an upstart’s launch to a billion in revenue. They help the management team shape the business. Start with just a toe hold, perhaps one product, and build from there.
So what qualities do Marquee Customers have?
1. They provide "Lighthouse References" which is your ticket to instant credibility in the marketplace. They actively sell to their peers
2. They help you shape the "Value Proposition" to maximize value.
3. They pay you for your product! By being actual customers, they help you test and depoly your products and services providing important feedback.
In an ordinary situation, a great customer may possess all three qualities which has additive benefits, but a Marquee Customer take the normal addition and turn it into multiplication. So an ordinary 10+10+10 = 30 becomes 10x10x10 = 1000. The difference is breaking the ordinary growth trajectory to have sustainable explosive growth.
How do you reach out to the Marquee Customer you want and need? Ask a lot of questions. But don’t take that information and bury it reports, determine the unmet needs. More of the potential customers recognize what unmet needs they have but it is up to the upstart to sift through the priorities. Fill the unmet need with an innovative solution and with a vision. Capture the big picture for your Marquee customer.
Word of caution: do not underestimate the time and energy it takes to develop this relationship. It can take years to bring in the right Marquee Customer.