A better word for 'most valuable customer'?
February 28, 2013 1:04 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a better word or term of art for the most important customer of a company, in particular one that provides the most revenue.

For example, the US Government is the the most important customer for many defense contractors, and school districts are probably the most important, valuable customers for those little plastic milk pouches (google them, they're so weird and awesome). Is there a word or phrase that captures not just that a customer is important, but provides the bulk of a company's revenue?
posted by heliostatic to Writing & Language (22 answers total)
 
Informal terms: "bread and butter", "cash cow"
posted by scose at 1:05 PM on February 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Critical
posted by dabug at 1:09 PM on February 28, 2013


Pivotal
posted by Anitanola at 1:11 PM on February 28, 2013


Meal Ticket
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 1:14 PM on February 28, 2013


"Cash cow" has a different meaning in business; best not use that one.

In Las Vegas they're known as "whales".
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 1:15 PM on February 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I've heard "Keystone client."
posted by KathrynT at 1:15 PM on February 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


anchor customer, similar to anchor tenant.
posted by dynamiiiite at 1:16 PM on February 28, 2013


High priority and high-touch are phrases I've come across pretty frequently for accounts considered essential to a business.
posted by jquinby at 1:16 PM on February 28, 2013


Casinos refer to high-rollers as whales; they can account for 40 percent of revenue. I don't know if any other industries use the term, but it certainly makes the point clearly.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 1:22 PM on February 28, 2013


Principal customer.
posted by kindall at 1:36 PM on February 28, 2013


McDonald's uses the term "heavy users."
posted by oceano at 1:37 PM on February 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


My firm refers to these as "Diamond Clients".
posted by Doleful Creature at 1:40 PM on February 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Alpha client?
posted by mr. digits at 2:02 PM on February 28, 2013


My company simply uses "top client."
posted by jbickers at 2:14 PM on February 28, 2013


I just say my biggest client.
posted by cakebatter at 2:20 PM on February 28, 2013


My office describes such customers as "key partners".
posted by magstheaxe at 2:33 PM on February 28, 2013


The extreme example of this is a monopsonist.
posted by pompomtom at 2:35 PM on February 28, 2013


The conventional jargon for such a relationship that you can use to their face is "strategic customer".
posted by drdanger at 4:22 PM on February 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


Key account.
posted by alms at 5:11 PM on February 28, 2013


Most loyal.
posted by qsysopr at 5:43 PM on February 28, 2013


I hear strategic account or key account a lot.
posted by deludingmyself at 10:03 PM on February 28, 2013


Primary client.
posted by sexyrobot at 11:09 PM on February 28, 2013


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