Marketing is the lifeblood of business. Without marketing, there are no customers, and without customers, there is no business.
In my experience consulting with businesses, they all define marketing a bit differently, but there is always one thing in common – marketing is viewed as an activity to acquire new customers. Whether that’s posting ads online or in publications, attending trade shows or networking, marketing is how you businesses attract leads, with sales staff closing those leads.
Yes, that is marketing – but only a part of it. Actually, it is not the most important part.
What Businesses Get Wrong About Marketing
Acquiring a customer can be difficult and so it makes sense to invest time and money into getting new customers. But what you do after you’ve got a customer is the biggest leverage point you have in growing your business.
Too many businesses become passive after acquiring a customer. They get a buyer, sell them their core service, and occasionally reach out to gauge interest in buying again.
You are leaving untold sums of money on the table if you do this.
Once you have a happy customer, they are much more likely to purchase from you again because you’ve earned their trust. And the more you can over deliver on their initial purchase, the more likely they will be to continue to come back for more.
Re-engaging past customers is the surest path to rapid business growth.
What Do I Sell Them?
All businesses need product and service diversification. If the majority of your revenue comes from a 1-2 services, your business has no resiliency. A change in market conditions, or changing preferences of your customer base, can derail your entire business very quickly.
If you are not constantly developing and testing new products, you should be!
This illustrates yet another reason to re-sell to past customers. Front end products get customers in the door. If market conditions change and your front end products are no longer as effective, you’ve still got all your prior customers. This means you can continue to nurture that relationship and sell them services they do want.
It’s all about trust. If you’ve built that trust, customers will not hesitate to tell you what else they want. All you have to do is ask!
Other Marketing Assets
Prior customers provide the largest leverage point for business growth. But there are a number of other marketing assets you should be employing. These include:
Partnerships with other businesses – If there’s a product or service your customers want that you cannot offer for some reason, partner with a business that can.
Optimization of sales process – Your sales process works, but are you testing it to continually improve performance?
Poorly defined Unique Selling Proposition (USP) – Have you taken the time develop a USP that your market responds to and that your employees have internalized?
Community engagement – Consider volunteering in your community for charities or non-profits of your choice. This is a great way to gain exposure and will attract loyal customers.
Upselling and cross selling complimentary products and services – What additional products can you provide at the point of purchase? Are you providing customers with an option for a ‘premium’ version of your service? Many will take it, but you have to offer it!
The Bottom Line
Broaden your perspective of marketing – it’s more than simply advertising your business to acquire new customers.
Focus on selling to customers you’ve already acquired. You will increase your average lifetime customer value (LCV) without spending more on marketing. Moreover, focus on other underutilized marketing assets, such as developing a compelling USP and joint ventures with other businesses.
All businesses have under-exploited marketing assets. Take the time to find them and watch your business flourish.