What do you call the people that marketers interact with? The ones who aren't customers yet...
I was talking with Dan Pink on a conference call earlier and we realized that "prospect" or "target market" are very marketing-centric terms. The person is defined by the marketer, not the other way around.
Isn't it interesting that there isn't even a name for someone who doesn't yet have a relationship with the marketer?
We settled on citizen. (Jackie and Ben used a variant on this in their latest book.)
Citizen recognized the power of this individual. Citizens are no longer the weak, isolated pre-consumers in front of a TV set in 1971, with few options. Now, citizens appear to be holding all the cards. It sounds a bit pretentious, but then, so do most terms marketers use.
When you stop calling people 'targets' or 'prospects' and start calling them 'guests' or 'citizens', you can't help but become a little more humble and a little more respectful. Try it, it works.
The mp3 of the conversation is here.