Ever since the dawn of software-as-a-service, we’ve recognized how much easier and cost efficient it is to keep customers than acquire new ones. We’ve also seen the benefit that loyal customers yield – spending more money over time, and helping you easily acquire new customers via advocacy.
Jobs like growth marketing and product marketing have grown in popularity. That’s a good start. But what have we done with that knowledge? We’ve created more and more ways to acquire customers. There has been little innovation geared at helping us engage, keep, and grow our customers. We’ve also created a plethora of organizational roadblocks that prevent marketers from accessing customers.
Something’s wrong. If it’s cheaper to retain and grow existing customers than acquire new ones, and if SaaS economics rely on efficiencies, why is marketing to customers so inefficient?
There Are Only A Few Things That Matter
In his book, Purple Cow, legendary marketer Seth Godin helps us all understand how to be remarkable.
But he also hit on an important part of SaaS before SaaS was a mainstream delivery method: it’s cheaper to keep an old customer than it is to get a new one.
Taking things a step further, Godin calls out a key point from Peppers and Rogers in The One to One Future. There are only four types of people when it comes to your business: prospects, customers, loyal customers, and former customers.
This book was published in 2003. The fact that customers are our most important audience has been staring us in the face for more than a decade.
David Skok has written extensively on SaaS metrics that matter. He says there are three keys to success in SaaS:
It’s the same point that Godin makes in Purple Cow: the bigger opportunity lies beyond the acquisition.
Marketers are under focused on customers, and hyperfocused on strangers. They’re putting 90% of their efforts into 25% of their audience.
Godin called it a “quiet revolution” almost 15 years ago.
I’d rather not be quiet about it.
Why the heck are we still spending more time marketing to strangers, not customers?
It’s time to take down the roadblocks. It’s time for marketers to have easy access to customers, plan a go-to-customer strategy, and acquire the right tools to execute on it.