Like many, I'm a big believer in attracting new customers that are the right profile for the brand. But, I have never believed that you invest the majority of your resources into attracting new customers. It's important to always have a two prong approach where you invest in not only maintaining but in delighting your existing customers. In many ways, it's much easier and affordable to work hard to keep an existing customer.
Did you know that it cost 5 times more to attract a new customer than to retain an existing customer?* THAT is a good reason to invest marketing dollars and focus on growing a relationship with existing customers, it even cost less! Even though they are cheaper to maintain, loyal customers are priceless!
Regardless, of the data that consistently backs up investing in current customers, there are instances where brands chase after those one-time wonders; making the deal so sweet that a "new" prospective customer can't pass it up. So, they try it and, when the deal is no longer available they drop the brand (think Groupon).
Because the relationship started out wrong. Like any good relationship you have to be in it for the long run and invest the time. Establishing a loyal customer has to start out as a reciprocal relationship (i.e. the customer is getting something from the brand and the brand is gaining something - the customer).
The brand has to peak the interest of the the prospective customer and entice his/her curiosity enough for the first transaction to take place. Once the customer tries the brand now the brand has to show that it will consistently deliver what the customer expects.
That's when the romance starts.
The brand has to literally make the customer feel a visceral emotion whether he/she is happy, safe, beautiful - you get the point. Once that happens boom the brand has a loyal customer!
But this loyal customer can't and/or shouldn't be taken for granted. The brand has to keep the interest of the customer and keep making the customer feel that same intense emotion each and every time which, even for the biggest and best brands, is a challenge.
If the brand successfully develops a strong relationship, shows the customer that they value him/her, keeps delighting and romancing the customer to feel that desired emotion, then the brand will have a loyal customer. So, pay close attention to your existing customers. Value them. But most importantly, don't forget about the old while you're chasing the new. Keep investing and focusing on your existing customers. It will always pay off.
Sonya Ruff Jarvis, is the Managing Member of Jarvis Consultants and Founder of the eRetailer Summit. Sonya has extensive experience in creating original innovative solutions to overcome major business challenges. Sonya has spent most of her career visiting headquarters across global industries and has built strong business relationships across diverse brands.
Sonya has a M.B.A. in Marketing. She is married and has a daughter and they live in Fairfield County Connecticut.