Most companies view users through a single lens of value: who is our core user? A core user is your target persona within the main product use case. They are at the epicenter of the product-market fit and hold company’s undivided attention. But you’d leave a lot on the table by valuing core users only. Other users can play a unique role in shaping the overall business strategy, customer experience, and their contributions to the success of your product.
This blog will unravel five important yet frequently missed user archetypes.
Five User Archetypes
Five important yet frequently missed user archetypes to consider within the product user base:
Let’s dive in!
Power users are customers who engage with the product at a much higher frequency than the expected core level of engagement. Their usage often verges on overutilization, and they tend to be the most vocal customers when it comes to requesting features and submitting support tickets.
It is important to proactively flag power users to not fall into the ‘power user trap’:
Over-catering to your power users at the expense of your core user and product ecosystem as a whole.
Neglecting your power users and alienating those who may generate significant value for your product.
I won’t go into details as there is already a great article on the topic here.
Viral users are the loudest positive voices on the market, talking and recommending the product to anybody willing to listen. They are significant contributors to a company’s growth model via:
Social media influence
Referrals (organic or incentivized)
They increase the brand's visibility by sharing content and experiences with their extensive networks, resulting in increased awareness and potential new customers.
Identify most viral users via Net Promoter Score surveys (whoever answers 9 & 10) or quantitative tracking of most active community members, whoever does social shoutouts, etc.
Interestingly, the most viral users often tend to be freemium users who don't pay for the product. Conversely, customers with the highest lifetime value (LTV) usually have extremely high expectations due to the price they pay for the product. Even when their expectations are met, these high-LTV customers are typically less likely to participate in referrals actively.
At SurveyMonkey, 70%+ of our acquisition was driven by free users who would distribute large surveys (user-generated content) with SurveyMonkey branding to their network, driving brand awareness and acquisition loops for the company.
Champions are a cross between power and viral user.
They possess deep product knowledge and are genuinely concerned about its success. Champions are especially critical for the B2B buying process because they:
Advocate for the product
Do internal selling to the enterprise buyer
Offer product support and help to other team members
In the B2B context, champions act as vital partners to the sales efforts, playing a critical role in maintaining account health. Their importance extends beyond the sales process, as they also contribute to customer retention by providing candid assessments of the account's status.
At Amplitude, champions frequently emerged as individuals who created numerous charts and shared them with their teams. They cultivated a data-driven decision-making environment and were highly motivated to drive Amplitude’s adoption across the company, which helped achieve their goals. This differentiates them from users who merely consumed charts or created them infrequently.
Every company should clearly know the customer profile that will bring the most revenue. These high-value customers are often responsible for a significant portion of the company's profits and deserve special attention to ensure their continued loyalty and satisfaction. They are identified by having the highest Lifetime Value (LTV).
In B2B organizations, these customers are labeled as Ideal Customer Profiles (ICP) and get undivided attention from marketing and sales teams.
ICP is a sales term often defined by the ability of the customer to handle the sales floor (lowest contract value that the sales team can engage with) and a lucrative, core monetizable customer for the business. Most B2B ICPs are set to define a customer at the company size of 200 or more employees that will handle a sales floor of at least $15K.
Adjacent users are a set of users who show intent for your product but are not core persona/use case. They often never reach an engaged state because, typically, the current product positioning or experience has too many barriers to adoption for them.
Mature growth strategy anchors on folding adjacent users into a core user base.
As Bangaly Kaba eloquently put it:
Most product teams know their existing users pretty well. But your future audience is always evolving. The challenges that these potential users face in adopting the product increase over time. Without a team dedicated to understanding, advocating, and building for your next set of users, you end up never expanding your audience. This stalls growth, and the product never reaches the level you aspire it to.
Read his fantastic deep dive into adjacent user theory here.
A picture is worth a thousand words, so here is a meme to illustrate what an adjacent user to the water faucet looks like:
User archetypes are not mutually exclusive from each other and any given customer and fall into multiple categories. Do your best to track them to ensure predictable and sustainable growth for the company.
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This is good. Here is my question. What if your product is a passive usecase?? Something like a router or a switch in user's office or house? If user is touching it daily then it is a failure. Because the best product doesn't require for user to touch it. How do you identify different user types in that case?? Thanks.