Should your marketing focus on retention or acquisition?

It’s a tricky one.

The last couple of years have inevitably focused on customer retention as many businesses have been fighting to survive. As we come up for air however, thoughts are turning towards new customer acquisition.

Obviously, the ideal is a sound combination of both as the challenge is to build sales as quickly as possible and develop a brand over time. If your focus is solely on building the brand then it’s going to take money – and once you stop, your profile diminishes rapidly.

And what if your acquisition is great but your retention is grim? That’s not just down to your marketing. Offers or loyalty schemes can support retention to some extent, but they won’t mitigate poor pricing, poor customer service, or a poor product.

Putting the customers first is essential. That means being helpful and relevant as well as data-driven and inclusive. Utilising data can make you focus your marketing content on what is interesting to your customers intellectually and emotionally – appealing both to head and heart. But you can only do that if you understand the data. This way you should be able to retain customers while you try to attract new ones.

If you can work out what your current customers value, you have the basis for what will attract others in their tribe.
And once you’ve analysed behaviours that lead to positive outcomes, you can almost reverse-engineer your campaigns to guide new customers as to why your offering is valuable to them.
Remember that personalisation = retention and attraction.

Telling your brand story is key. Once people have decided, or are considering, that they need or want a product, they want authenticity and value from you – whether it’s their first or their thousandth interaction – and irrespective of whether you are trying to acquire them as a customer or retain them.