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Self Referencing Definition

self-referencing – adj : describing a market or set of customers in which the customers interact intensively with one another and rely on each other (reference each other) for information about a type of product or service. Self-referencing customer groups tend to read the same periodicals, belong to the same clubs or professional associations, attend the same conferences, conventions and trade shows, or communicate with one another through word-of-mouth, Internet chat rooms or web logs (“blogs”), or at actual events such as industry conferences, conventions, concerts or other gatherings. Businesses value self-referencing customer groups because they tend to be relatively inexpensive and efficient to reach, communicate with and market to.

Examples: DentaSpecial Inc. has developed an innovative new device for use by dentists.  Because dentists are a tightly self-referencing group, DentaSpecial can reach their prospective customers relatively efficiently inexpensively; rather than advertising on television or in popular magazines at great expense, the firm can promote its products by advertising in the professional periodicals and at the annual and regional conventions of dentists’ professional association, the American Dental Association (ADA). Because dentists tend not to compete with each other beyond local boundaries, they are very comfortable “comparing notes” with their professional colleagues and sharing best practices with one another.  CoolTool Inc. has developed a revolutionary new woodworking tool and would like to market the tool to serious woodworkers. Fortunately, these – finish carpenters, cabinet-makers, and serious woodworking hobbyists – are a highly self-referencing group, “sharing” information and best practices by subscribing to a handful of publications such as Fine Woodworking Magazine.  Advertising in, or purchasing the subscriber list for, such a limited-circulation publication costs a tiny fraction of broad-based marketing promotion to the general public (most of whom would not be interested in CoolTool’s products).

Adapted from "The CompanyCrafters Entrepreneur's Dictionary"
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