Customer Marketing – Good Customers Expect to be Rewarded

by James on February 5, 2010

It always comes down to customer marketing.  Big business or small, your customers are your present and your future.  How can you use customer marketing to keep them coming back and buying more?

In particular, it’s the heavy users. Typically, a minority of customers generates the majority of revenue.  You need to understand their unique needs, keep them happy, and keep them buying.

Customer Marketing – Understand the Obstacles

Customer marketing is a huge opportunity that traditional marketers like to talk about but, generally speaking, fail to exploit. Lots of reasons for this. Customer marketing isn’t very glamorous, no TV commercials to tell your friends about, and it’s a lot of work. It is also, in many traditional marketing organizations, hard to fund. The CFO has always funded advertising even when unsure of the return. They could see the spots on TV and point them out to their friends. Relationship Marketing is much harder to see. And the results take time. Wall Street wants to see the numbers for this quarter. They aren’t interested in programs that take a year or more to pay back even if they promise double digit ROI. Sad.

Good Customers — Keep Them Longer and Sell Them More

Assuming you can overcome the obstacles, adopting the Five Customer Relationship Marketing Principles is key. In particular, the fourth principle, “Good Customers Expect to be Rewarded,” is important to nurturing the Heavy Users.

How can a marketer do this?  The small things a marketer can do is only limited by imagination.  And it doesn’t need to be expensive.  Most ideas require nothing more than a little time.  Find simple things that add value to your customers experience.  Give them reasons to choose your product / brand / service / store in the face of competitive pressure.

Start Now

First a foremost, do something for your best customers, and do it now. The “what” isn’t nearly as important as the “do.”

I once presented a case in a new business pitch about the relationship marketing program we developed for a major telco. It described the early results we got. The CMO of the potential client thought the case was unbelievable.  How could we get those results so quickly?  I replied,

“I could have sent a brick through the mail and gotten a positive response.  That’s just how badly these customers have been treated.”

Hip Shots

  • Ask them to register for an exclusive monthly newsletter
  • Invite them to spend time in the store with a special guests or to try a new product
  • Offer exclusive access, a seating area with free internet access, an protected area on your web site with valuable content not available to regular customers
  • Introduce new products to best customers before they are available to regular customers
  • Ask for their feedback and tell them what you are doing with the information

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Kelly August 2, 2008 at 4:59 am


LOL at the brick. For that industry, very true. Customers would be glad to drive by and return the brick in person, too.

Since your photo hints at it, I’ll say that one small thing with a big impact is thank-you notes. I’ve had great success with them and recommended them to others with good results, also. Anything personal to say that you care—but only if you mean it!

A great post on one of my favorite topics. Thanks!



Ryan August 8, 2008 at 1:26 pm

Amen, Kelly. Thank you notes go a LONG way with a customer. They’re not easily forgotten, either. It’s vastly different from a thank you expressed in an email.

Great article, James!

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