Your Best Customers Are Your Best Customers

We’ve all heard it before, but somehow in our ongoing quest to add *new* customers, we have a tendency to forgot to focus attention on the ones we already have.

Datran Media, an e-mail services company, recently asked marketers to rank what advertising goals they considered most important for 2009. The results were:

  • New customer acquisition – 63.2%
  • Increased customer retention – 43.7%
  • Increased brand favorability – 14.1%
  • Increased brand awareness¬†– 14.0%

In my opinion, the top two items should be switched around – at a minimum. It takes a lot of effort – time and money –¬†to gain a new customer. There are a number of steps that the consumer must go through that take significant effort on the part of a business – generating awareness, achieving preference, first use, satisfaction, reuse.

Unfortunately, once a customer is on board they are all too often overlooked. Successful businesses know that they must continually nurture their existing customers – wooing them in the same manner that they attempt to woo new customers. Phone and cable companies are notorious for offering “special deals” for new customers – hey! what about me? I’ve been a customer for years?

The value of continuing to nurture existing customers goes beyond their continued purchases (which is certainly a significant value!). Satisfied and loyal customers also generate positive word-of-mouth, which can lead to new customer acquisition. Existing customers also provide a valuable source of feedback – if cultivated – to help businesses stay abreast of changing market preferences, areas of satisfaction and dissatisfaction, etc.

If you’re focusing more on generating new customers than nurturing the ones you have, you may want to take another look at how you’re prioritizing your marketing efforts.

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