By Joe Pulizzi published August 27, 2007

Your Most Profitable Strategy: Focus on Current Customers

I was flipping through my notes on the book, “Managing Business-to-Business Marketing Communications” by J. Nicholas DeBonis and Roger S. Peterson.  Excellent book, and here are the highlights as it pertains to customer retention.

The Fundamental Principal of Marketing

It is exponentially more profitable to keep existing customers than it is to acquire new ones.

The rule of thumb is that it costs five times as much to acquire a new customer than to keep an existing one. Many marketers focus the majority of their efforts on lead generation activities. Although new business is always an important driver to any business, more companies than not seem to neglect the MOST PROFITABLE marketing strategy, which is keeping and growing your current customer base.

What Customers Need

“Customers need and seek out relevant, accurate information for appropriate buying decisions, information that provides a better knowledge of the marketplace and its products, is clear and easy to understand, and which doesn’t add to the customer’s already oppressive information overload.”

A company’s marketing communications should be generated to satisfy the above expectations.  Marketers can do this through many different vehicles and initiatives, but the key to satisfying these needs to create truly educational and relevant content that, to an extent, cannot be duplicated easily.

Relevance, Not Frequency

“Maintaining the customer relationship requires an effective relationship communications strategy and corresponding programs. Customer contact should be based on relevance, not frequency. This strategy requires understanding the information needs of the customer, which is a primary function of a progressive database.”

First and foremost in a content marketing/custom publishing strategy is to disseminate relevant information. If you are unsure about the content you are sending out, wait until it is absolutely essential to the customer. Although frequency is important, it takes a significant backseat to relevance.

How’s Your Database Doing?

Although your customers have many similarities, they are also VERY different. In order to maximize your customer relationships, you must treat them differently.

The more that is known about a customer or prospect, the better a product or service can be provided to satisfy the customer’s expectations. The same goes for your company’s communications. Maintaining customer and prospect preferences in your database is mandatory to create truly relevant customer communications programs.

“In this day of information overload, knowing when, where, and how to deliver a marketing message is critical. Information that appears in a customer’s preferred information source has tremendous credibility.

What to Do?

Not sure where to go from here?  Here are some steps to drive more revenues from your current customers.

  1. Research your customer on every level imaginable. Surveys, focus groups, product data and buying behavior, etc.
  2. Continually take your customer data and get it into a unified database.
  3. Create multi-platform communication programs to satisfy your customer’s informational needs.
  4. Be sure feedback mechanisms integrated into your communications are linked back to your database.
  5. Repeat!

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Author: Joe Pulizzi

Joe Pulizzi is the Founder of Content Marketing Institute, a UBM company, the leading education and training organization for content marketing, which includes the largest in-person content marketing event in the world, Content Marketing World. Joe is the winner of the 2014 John Caldwell Lifetime Achievement Award from the Content Council. Joe’s the author of five books, including his latest, Killing Marketing. His third book, Epic Content Marketing was named one of “Five Must Read Business Books of 2013” by Fortune Magazine. If you ever see Joe in person, he’ll be wearing orange. Follow him on Twitter @JoePulizzi.

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