Over on The Marketing Optimist Facebook page we ran a very simple poll over the Christmas break.
We asked: What are your marketing priorities for 2019?
A – Retain more customers?
B – Attract new customers?
We shared the post to a few Facebook groups who’s members are largely start-ups, though we know there are a few more mature businesses owners in there too. The post did pretty well, maybe because the Christmas TV was so poor this year, we reached 1,650 people and got 78 votes. This is how they stacked up.
In the first few days the poll was out there the figures skewed much more heavily towards gaining new customers, at one point the poll sat at 95% for option B.
Are these figures a surprise?
Given where we shared the poll, start-up and founders groups, the fact that 85% wanted to focus on gaining new customers isn’t a surprise. When your business is new and don’t have many customers to retain, of course that’s where you focus your marketing efforts.
Our assumption seems to bear weight. When we looked at the respondents favouring retaining existing clients, they were more established businesses who presumably have a more developed customer base.
While these figures are interesting, what the poll couldn’t tell us is – Do any of these business owners have a marketing plan to help then achieve their chosen priority?
More importantly – If they have a marketing plan how they are going to measure if they have achieved their goals?
What should your marketing plans be for 2019?
That all depends on where your business is in its life-cycle. If you’re a new start-up, then gaining your first customer will be the hardest thing you ever do. Getting someone to hand over their budget to a business with no track record is a tough call. But once you get one under your belt the next clients are easier.
It’s a fact that marketing to new clients is an expensive game and takes up a lot of time, money, blood, sweat and tears.
Retaining and expanding an existing customer on the other hand, if you’ve done a good job, is comparatively less expensive and stressful.
Finding a healthy marketing mix of retention and acquisition can be a tricky balance, especially in the early days of a company where anything new is really exciting and existing customers can fall be the wayside.
Regardless of which path companies choose, one thing which makes the difference between success and having a marketing plan.