Most companies spend the lion’s share of their marketing budgets on getting new customers, but this only works if that customer comes back. If not, while you may have gained a sale, you may have also lost everything you invested in order to get that customer there in the first place. This is why many of the giants like Apple and Amazon are adopting a ‘customer marketing’ strategy when it comes to growing their businesses. Instead of focusing on new customer acquisition, they rather focus on ‘customer marketing’ and put their marketing efforts into building long term relationships with existing customers. So how does this differ from traditional marketing and why do you need to do this in your business?

It’s time to shift focus

Did you know that the likely success of selling to a new customers is 5 – 20% but the chance of selling to an existing customer is as high as 70%! So surely you should be putting your energy into the latter? The reason this concept feels a bit strange is that it requires a very different model and a shift in mind-set. So instead of thinking in a transaction-based approach, rather think about a relationship-based model. In other words, instead of building your business on new customers alone, rather build it on repeat business from existing ones. This is known as a subscription economy and is five times cheaper than acquiring new customers, which can have a significant impact on your business’s growth.

So what is ‘customer marketing’?

‘Customer marketing’ helps you communicate and engage with your existing customers. This strategy is not isolated, but rather focused on an in-depth post-purchase process in the customer-journey. It places strong emphasis on building high quality relationships with existing customers and offers lifetime value from a single customer. A cornerstone of this is providing a positive customer experience. This transforms customers into brand advocates who will then spread the word for you and build leads organically.

How is this different from traditional marketing?

Traditional marketing focusses on attracting new first-time customers. ‘Customer marketing’ however, is about holding onto and building long-term relationships with the customers you already have in order to realize the long-term financial potential from each existing customer. The important shift here is that it’s all about building loyalty and enhancing customer experience. Remember though, that you have to have a good pool of customers in place first, before you can shift into a ‘customer marketing’ strategy. Once there, here are 3 basic strategies you can adopt to foster this relationship.

Top 3 ‘customer marketing’ strategies

1. High touch marketing

This is the strategy you are going to apply to VIP customers that you really want to build something important with. This type of marketing requires regular on-going contact with your customers. It helps them feel cared about and valued. The best way to do this is through human contact, phone check-ins or in person meetings and events. The down-side of high touch marketing is that it is resource-heavy and can be pricy.

2. Tech touch marketing

This refers to regular contact but using tech to engage with your customer. Here automated scalable customer marketing campaigns can be optimized and tweaked customer-to-customer. This includes running online adverts to encourage your customer to upgrade or unlock new features, or other tech-based communications like in-app messaging, alerts or trigger emails to encourage engagement at various milestones in the customer’s journey.


3. Low touch marketing

This is a combined strategy for customers who don’t fit into either of the above boxes. Here you can combine a mix of high touch and tech touch strategies to find the right mix that will nurture your client. For example, webinars, live-chats, FAQ pages and tech-based cross-selling promos.

The bottom line

When it comes to effective ‘customer marketing’, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. But along the way you need to massage the process and follow your customer’s lead. When done right though, ‘customer marketing’ is a powerful way to grow your business, sustainably and long term. So start off simple, tier your existing customer base and then begin talking to them. This is not only a more cost-effective way to do business, but it has proven, swift results.


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