Put a ring on it – why life-long customer retention should be your number one marketing goal.
As the world continues to adapt to life amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses have increasingly found themselves in uncharted territory. As we all start to think about how to move forward, it’s clear the marketing priorities of all companies will need to shift – to a focus on long-term customer retention.
Whilst lead generation and going-to-market remain important when it comes to finding business, extracting value from already engaged customers is a priority. Indeed, a statistic published by B&T notes that “..80% of your future profit will come from less than 20% of your existing customer base.”
Additionally, Marketing 2025 recently produced a report that shows marketers believe lead generation will become much less of a priority, with lifetime value and customer retention instead becoming the key focus areas for marketing activity.
So how will this be achieved? Well for one, there’ll be much less emphasis on making decisions around email marketing and social media (it’s predicted advanced technology and machines will be doing this work for us sooner than we think, with social media bots already on the rise in a seriously sophisticated way). With much of the focus shifting to the overall relationship with the customer, the importance of customer retention – and providing them with ongoing customer value – looks set to grow and grow.
In this landscape, then, the challenge for all businesses now becomes how to keep your customers happy and loyal, and how to stop the competition successfully stealing them away.
With that in mind, here are some key things you can do to get your customers locked down and with you for life.
Who are your diamond customers?
Diamonds really are a business’s best friend, and a number one priority in successful customer retention and maximising customer lifetime value is understanding exactly which customers to retain. Naturally, you want to keep the very best ones – but what does that mean? Whilst profitability’s important, it’s actually not everything – knowing which customers are the best fit for your team and capability are equally as important. Is it really worth keeping that ever-returning client, if their demands consistently make for an unhappy team? Use your judgement in these situations, and make sure you balance profit with team-wide morale.
Once you’ve identified your diamond customers, you need to make sure you’re looking after them. When it comes to using marketing to treat these customers right, think about what you have in place. Your number one customers need to feel just that – like they’re number one. Ask yourself, what did we do to show this diamond customer how much we value their business? Was this different to what we did for all of our other customers? What more could we do to make them feel valued? If you’re not yet making your diamonds feel dazzling and valuable, get on it – fast.
So you’ve landed a new customer – what next?
Historically, marketing has placed enormous emphasis on the path to purchase – getting the customer to become, well, a customer. With the new shift to a focus on customer retention and lifetime value, you need to overhaul your post-purchase customer path. It’s at this time, once you’ve been paid for your product or service, that you can make a lasting impression with key messaging that shows genuine care for your customer. Managed correctly, it’ll also prevent any pesky thoughts forming in the their mind about whether or not you’re the right choice for them. Follow-up calls, thank-yous and “we’re thinking of you” messaging all go a long way to building a path to re-purchase – not just from your customer, but also the families, friends and wider social groups that hear about their great experience with your brand.
For bigger businesses (and some small ones as well), standardisation has crept into marketing activity. However, as we shift our focus to customer retention, there really isn’t space for this one-size-fits-all activity – to keep ‘em keen, don’t treat ‘em mean (or even just all the same). To keep things fresh in your long-term customer relationship, you have to get personal.
Whilst personalisation has shared the limelight with trends over the past few years, it’s time to go further – way beyond names on EDMs and targeted social ads. Personalisation at a deeper level needs to be at the forefront of your marketing efforts – think tightly segmented customer groups, all with custom user-journeys. A recent article by Salesforce shows that 84% of customers report being treated like a person, rather than a number, is very important to winning their business, and 70% of customers want their provider to know and understand how they use their products and services. That desire to be truly seen and valued is the bedrock of any long-term relationship – so go out there, find your keeper-customers and whatever you do, keep the magic alive.