Beyond Lead Gen: Strengthening Customer Relationships Through Lifecycle Marketing
Lead generation is essential for driving new business, but focusing solely on attracting new leads often comes at the expense of nurturing and retaining existing customers.
With peak behind us, it’s time for supply chain companies to look ahead to 2024 and ensure their marketing strategy goes beyond lead generation. While new leads are important for driving revenue, focusing solely on lead gen often neglects nurturing and retaining existing customers.
Maintaining strong relationships with shippers and carriers will be critical for navigating whatever the transportation market throws at us in 2024. Implementing retention and customer marketing programs needs to be a priority as supply chain companies plan their 2024 marketing strategy and budget.
The Importance of Retention Marketing
Retaining customers has a bigger impact on revenue growth than customer acquisition.
Increasing Customer Retention Increases Profits
According to research done by Frederick Reichheld of Bain & Company (the inventor of the net promoter score), increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%.
Plus, the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%, while the probability of selling to a new prospect is just 5-20%, according to the book Marketing Metrics.
Focusing on customer marketing, maximizing loyalty, and prioritizing repeat business from existing customers just makes business sense.
Best Practices for Customer Marketing
So, how can you get started? The typical advice is to send post-transaction or post-engagement surveys and personalize your emails… but in our experience, people are surveyed out, and customers can tell those emails aren’t 1:1 in the first place. Here are some other idea starters:
Have you ever seen your cable company advertising a better deal than you get, even though you’ve been a loyal customer? We think that should be flipped on its head. Save your special promotions, discounts, or value-added services exclusively for existing customers to thank them for their loyalty.
Look to your partners
Chances are, you have partners who complement your offering. If they can pass along a discount or promotion exclusive to your customers, you’ve got both a customer reward and a valuable co-marketing opportunity wrapped up in one.
Send them your merch
If you have good quality company premiums, share them with your customers. Bonus – when they wear/use your items, you’ve got a free brand ambassador walking around!
Release content to them first
Provide access to whitepapers, special reports, or advanced training to VIP customers first – or even make content exclusive to them.
Host networking events
Host in-person events to facilitate peer sharing and networking between customers. In our experience, the best place to do this is at conferences you’re already attending. Host a happy hour, and you’ll get valuable facetime, and maybe they’ll even bring a prospect as their guest. If you go this route, please remember to plan early! Conference schedules fill up fast.
Build a user community
Build an online community forum where customers can connect, collaborate, and access resources. Okay, this one takes a ton of time, effort, and resources, but if done right, the payoff is huge – and we haven’t seen a supply chain company fully take advantage of this opportunity yet.
Establish a customer advisory council
A customer advisory council can be a valuable resource for gaining ongoing customer insights and strengthening retention – but be forewarned, it also requires an investment of time and resources to manage effectively. You’ll also want to wait until your business is securely established, with an extensive customer roster, to ensure you protect yourself from your largest clients having an outsized influence on your business.
On the other hand, there’s no better way to get direct customer feedback to inform product and marketing decisions, build closer relationships and loyalty with key accounts, identify churn risks early, and ensure your expansion initiatives are successful.
Winning new business must be balanced with retaining and growing existing customer relationships. By making lifecycle marketing and customer retention a strategic priority – supported with the right technology, resources, and executive alignment – supply chain companies can drive revenue while also strengthening their competitive position.
If managing comprehensive customer marketing feels out of reach given your team’s bandwidth, consider partnering with a marketing agency (like us!).
An agency’s expertise and the access they provide to a team of specialists can pay dividends in both the short and long term.
Lead generation has its place, but true business growth stems from loyal customers
The time to start developing a comprehensive customer marketing strategy for 2024 is now. By prioritizing lifecycle marketing and customer retention programs within your 2024 plans and budgets, your company can drive growth through both new customer acquisition and nurturing existing relationships to unlock lasting revenue potential.
With the guidance of a seasoned agency specializing in supply chain marketing, you can confidently weave lifecycle marketing and customer retention strategies into your annual marketing strategy. Virago Marketing would be happy to help!