Customers Aren't Acquired, They're Created
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Customer acquisition has become a buzzword that marketing agencies love– because that’s what they promise to do: help your business acquire customers.
When I hear a business leader or entrepreneur talking about customer acquisition, I know their efforts to acquire customers will be very costly at best.
Why? Because customers aren’t acquired- they are created.
What do most businesses mean whent they’re talking about customer acquisition? Usually, they’re thinking of the sales activities they will do to find prospective customers, educate them about their products/services, and finally convert them into paying customers– and there we have it, a customer is officially “acquired.”
The first problem with this approach is the activities needed to proactively find prospective customers will be costly. They will be promotional gambles that may or may not produce the desired result.
The second problem is that is the education part. If a prospective customer requires a lot of “education” to get them over the line to make a purchase, they’re probably not that convinced on the value of the product or service from the outset, and are also not the ideal customer for the business to target.
The third and overall problem with customer acquisition is that the cost is just plain not worth it. It doesn’t make much sense at all from an ROI (return on investment) perspective. Customer creation, on the other hand, is a totally different ballgame.
Customers aren’t created through a single transaction where they buy a product or service in exchange for money. That view of customer creation is a superficial one.
Customer creation is much more than that– it involves having a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship between the customer and the business, where both parties benefit.
From the customer’s point of view, the product/service they buy (and continue to buy) is so uniquely suited to their wants, that they don’t need to be endlessly educated about its benefits. They recognize from the outset that the product or service has what they want- which could be a particular feature, a certain style, or the price associated with purchasing. The points of differentiation are endless to an innovative business wanting to differentiate itself in the market.
From the business’ point of view, creating customers means they attract only the best customers, because their product/service is so uniquely suited to the customer’s wants; the best customers being those who are the most profitable to the business. High-cost promotional campaigns and endless sales follow-ups aren’t necessary to drag the prospect across the line, and mark them as a customer acquisition. Instead, customers are attracted to the business, because of the business’ unique ability to fulfil their wants.
Smart, targeted promotion, combined with some word-of-mouth, will always outdo an expensive shotgun promotional campaign aimed at educating everyone who comes into contact with it.
Recognizing that customers are created, instead of acquired, provides a whole new perspective to sales and marketing. Marketing efforts become more focused on understanding what the customer wants and delivering a product/service uniquely suited to those wants. Sales efforts become much more effective, by focusing on only the best customers, and doing away with shotgun promotional campaigns.
There’s a big difference between customer creation and customer acquisition, and an even bigger difference in the profit results each approach yields. Customer acquisition is concerned with obtaining individual sales transactions through sustained effort. Customer creation is concerned with attracting and building mutually beneficial long-term relationships.