With the economy slowing and more companies feeling the pinch, landing new business and meeting your growth goals will likely become more difficult. And just as your goals fall further away, the marketing dollars to get you there will be harder to come by. Grim picture? Not just yet. Targeting and selling to your loyal, satisfied customers might be the most effective marketing you can do this year.
Loyal customers are often the most overlooked group when it comes to laying out growth plans, but they’re also the most influential to your success. That’s because loyal customers buy more from you and will pay more for it than first-time buyers. Maximizing on that potential wallet share is key.
Loyal customers are also more likely to listen when you have new products to offer outside your identifiable brand. And then there’s the reward of customer referrals. Not only are you spared the time and expense of relaying your message to the marketplace, but few campaigns you create will have as much credibility and impact as a satisfied customer’s referral.
When it comes to looking ahead and laying out growth plans, there are four marketing strategies all businesses should evaluate and consider:
- Selling more of what you’re good at to more of your current clients.
- Introducing new products to your current clients.
- Selling more of what you’re good at to first-time buyers.
- Introducing new products to first-time buyers.
Though pounding the pavement selling more to current clients isn’t glamorous, it does offer the most potential. And more and more companies are tapping into it.
Recently, as one Midwestern CPA/consulting firm was developing their growth plan, they became convinced they had to attract new clients outside of their immediate geography to meet their goals. But after looking objectively at their four marketing options, along with how well they were capitalizing on their current client relationships, they changed their focus.
In a plan supported by the entire firm, they now spend 70% of their time and efforts marketing to current clients. This allowed them to take a limited budget and still push for aggressive growth goals. Just a few months later, they are already implementing their plan and seeing concrete results — results that wouldn’t have come so quickly (or cheaply) had they stuck with their original intent.
Without a doubt, increasing your wallet share from current clients is the easiest, most predictable growth strategy, not to mention the least expensive. And as marketing budgets get cut, that’s enough to impress even the toughest of CFOs.
Larry Bildstein is President and CEO of The Whetstone Group, Inc., a consulting enterprise that helps professional service firms develop and implement effective growth plans with marketing and telephone lead generation.
The Whetstone Group
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Marion Iowa 52302
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