In a recent speech by Josh Bernoff of Forrester Research at the ITSMA Marketing Leadership forum it occurred to me that customer acquisition is no longer an “end state” for marketers its somewhere in the middle. Let me explain …
Many marketers focus their efforts on the customer acquisition angle which has the benefit of measurability and thus the accountability for ROI. This is great in a world of tightening budgets and ROI on every campaign but getting the customer up the scale from Awareness to Consideration to Purchase is just part of the deal now that social media has arrived.
I would argue (and so did Josh) that the real work comes on Day 2 of the customers purchase. It’s the experience they had with your company over the entire sales cycle and the ongoing relationship they will have with your company when it comes to long term support. This end of the spectrum pales in comparison to the time frame it took to sell the customer (dare I say 12-18 months). If they have committed to your technology or software as a service they most likely will be with you for twice as long unless you do something horribly wrong.
B2B Marketers need to examine and invest in this area of the spectrum – the customer retention area. Why? Because unlike our B2C Marketing cousins we sell to very few customers comparatively – so a top priority should be for you to retain as many of your existing customers as possible!
Think of your budget as a B2B Marketer and just do a back of the napkin examination of your spending on Acquisition vs Retention.
Are you over weight in Acquisition?
It’s not uncommon that this would be the case – the question is what to do about it. One great spot to invest in is Social Support. Social Media is hot and I can guarantee someone is out there talking about your product or service right now. Perhaps it’s a new customer telling of their experience with your company or perhaps it’s an old customer longing for the good old days with your company – either way you need to be sure you are listening and ready to engage with them if they have an issue. Just letting them know you are out there to help is always a good idea as well.
The role of the B2B Marketer has changed over the last 10 years but what hasn’t is the need to be sure you are retaining those customers your sales team fought hard to land from your acquisition efforts.