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The Secret's Out The one marketing rule you absolutely must know for the new millenium.

By Jerry Fisher

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Want to grow your small company with the brilliance of amarketer from Mensa? Want a business-building strategy that wouldhave Bill Gates groveling at your feet? Want to pull it off withoutbreaking a sweat or breaking the bank? No problem. Just reach outto your existing customer base--whether that's three customersor 3,000--as Entrepreneur's marketing experts have longrecommended. As we begin a new era of more sophisticatedcompany-to-customer interactivity, this approach becomes even morepotent as a marketing tool . . . and, we felt,merited a special update to brief you on all the possibilities aswe quickly approach the new millennium.

We've all seen and admired examples of marketing genius overthe past few decades--like that of Walter E. Diemer, who diedrecently at age 93 and who sold us on a gooey pink substance called"Double Bubble" chewing gum. And let's not forgetwhoever talked us into potbellied pigs for pets. But in 2000 andbeyond, the golden statuettes for marketing genius will be handedout to entrepreneurs of another sort: those who realize thesmartest marketing move is to develop unbreakable relationshipswith their current customers.

Yes, start-up companies will always need to beat the bushes fornew customers. But once you're up and running, selling moregoods to fewer people is not only more efficient, it's also farmore profitable. Plus, for many companies, old customers are oftenthe best source of new customers. But more on that topic later.

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