Every business owner and marketer should resonate with the famous quote from Winston Churchill,

“Success always demands a greater effort.”

Despite having achieved success in the past – and having a database of past clients or customers to prove it – what keeps many professionals awake at night is the question, “How do I STAY successful?”

Take for example the case of Blockbuster Video:

  • 2003: Blockbuster Video is worth $5 billion.
  • September 23, 2010: Blockbuster Video files for bankruptcy.

Continued success is not guaranteed to those that have attained it. It needs to be continuously re-earned day-to-day, quarter-to-quarter, and year-to-year.

One of the most significant mistakes that can lead to a “slip” in success, is not paying attention to what your current and past customers are telling you – both in actual qualitative feedback AND also in their behavioral metrics and data.

Many businesses are so focused on new lead generation, that they forget about the “gold” to be mined in their current and past client base. By neglecting direct marketing opportunities with existing clients and customers, successful businesses are leaving real money on the table. Below are three ways that you can leverage your current customer base to improve profitability and lay the foundation for sustainable success:

Let Your Customers Do Your Lead Generation

“One customer, well taken care of, could be more valuable than $10,000 worth of advertising.”  

– Jim Rohn

The Word of Mouth Marketing Association reports that 2.4 billion brand-related conversations take place everyday in the US. People talk about the products and services they are happy with and the brand that serve them. And the people they are sharing with take action! According to Neilsen, people are 4 times more likely to buy when referred by a friend.

What does this mean for your business? Incorporating a referral strategy into your marketing and sales mix can generate significant returns on the investments you’ve already made into your current clients and customers. The best referrals come from happy customers right after they’ve experienced their “aha” moment and have made a purchase. By understanding your Customer Journey and marketing touch points, you can incorporate new approaches for encouraging referrals and/or gathering testimonials and endorsements.

Increase Customer Lifetime Value With Retention Strategies

“The probability of selling to an existing customer is up to 14 times higher than the probability of selling to a new customer.” – Marketing Metrics: The Definitive Guide to Measuring Marketing Performance

For the modern marketer, customer lifetime value (CLV or LTV) is the net profit developed across the entire relationship with a customer.  Therefore, it’s only logical that if a customer stays longer, her CLV will increase.

You may find that different offers and channels of engagement result in higher performance within different segments of your customer base.  Personalized campaigns can be targeted at a specific client or customer segment and speak directly to a journey stage, core challenge, insight or need.  Adjust your marketing message and measure.  While changing behaviors is difficult, you may find opportunities to optimize customer base performance.

Improve Your Marketing ROI Using Customer Centric Insights

Data is powerful signpost of where to dig for compelling customer insights. Using your customer intelligence and applying a Customer Centric approach to your business, you can let your Quantitative data to tell you where it may pay off to dig for more Qualitative (and harder to copy) customer insights.

Most businesses today have access to the same data and market research. But what can be the differentiating factor in creating compelling (and high ROI) marketing campaigns is identifying a core insight that you can use to transform attitudes and change behavior. By viewing mining the “gold” in your current and past customers and increasing their lifetime value, you can not only increase the return on your marketing dollars but also secure sustainable – and long term – success for your business.

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