I blogged on Monday about how your business builds up its Commercial Karma through the way it conducts itself with every person it encounters. I often use this phrase, and people seem to like it, but perhaps don’t take it as seriously as they could.

What do people connected to your business think of you?

I’d probably say that taking some time to think about the legacy of your interactions should be higher on your marketing agenda than anything you might do to reach new people through anything that might be usually considered marketing – like social media, direct mail or email. Because, these interactions are happening now, every minute, every hour, every day.

Here’s an exercise for you to see how important this might be for your business

Jot down your estimates for the numbers against the following questions:

How many people do you think have a customer connection with your company…

  • How many customers do you have now?
  • How many ex-customers do you have?
  • How people have enquired but not become customers?


How many people do you think have an employee connection with your company…

  • How many work for you now?
  • How many ex-employees do you have?
  • How many unsuccessful job applicants are there?


How many people do you think have a supplier connection with your company…

  • How many suppliers do you use now?
  • How many ex-suppliers do you have?
  • How many suppliers have been unsuccessful in winning your business?


How many people do you think have a competitor connection with your company?

  • How many businesses do you think see you as a competitor? (do not include this number in your total)
  • How many employee connections do you think they have cumulatively?
  • How many supplier connections do you think they have cumulatively?


Now, jot down your totals for each…

  • Customer connections:
  • Employee connections:
  • Supplier connections:
  • Competitor connections:


+ 25% (for people they’ve talked to about you, e.g. partners, friends):


I think this is probably an underestimate. But, should give you an indication of the number of people with first-hand (or pretty close to first-hand) experience of your business. These are people who probably have an opinion of some kind about you.

How much are those contacts worth to you?

If you take moment to think how much time and money it would take to reach and influence these people using marketing, you’ll start to see how important your day-to-day business communication is to your sales results.

I would love to know what totals you come up with. Please do use the comments function to tell me what you come up with. Specifically:

  • Is this more than you currently have on your email subscriber list?
  • Is it more than you have following you on Twitter?
  • How much would it cost to buy a list with this number of people on it?
  • And, how delighted would you be if that many people responded to a traditional marketing campaign?

Doing this ‘back of an envelope’ calculation can be eye-opening in thinking about some of the interactions you have outside the marketing arena.

This is an adapted exercise from the Watertight Marketing Workbook.

© Bryony Thomas | Illustration Lizzie Everard
Bryony Thomas

Bryony Thomas

Author & Founder, Watertight Marketing

Bryony Thomas is the creator of the multi-award winning  Watertight Marketing methodology, captured in her best-selling book of the same name. She is one of the UK's foremost marketing thinkers, featured by the likes of Forbes, The Guardian, Business Insider and many more, and in-demand speaker for business conferences, in-house sales days and high-level Board strategy days.

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