Why you should stop chasing new customers!

When I first talk to a client about their marketing, I have a few questions I always ask. The first is “What do you want to achieve from your marketing?”, almost without fail I get the same response: More customers!

While it is the obvious response, it isn’t strictly the truth.  When they ask for more customers, most businesses really want something else… More money! The assumption that more customers result in more money doesn’t always hold true.

The Problem

The problem with targeting more customers with your marketing, is that each customer costs money in the form of paperwork and staff time for customer service.  Marketing to new potential customers is also expensive.

The solution is better customers

Rather than aiming for more customers, how about focusing on creating more great customers.  A great customer is a heavy user of your products or services, they buy more, more often.  The never complain about your prices, and best of all they brag about your business to their friends and colleagues.

A great customer is valuable to your business from a profit perspective, but they also give you the best type of marketing you can get – word of mouth testimonials.  In short, they send you referrals!

Getting great customers

There are two things to keep in mind about great customers.  Firstly, you already have some great customers.  and secondly, your great customers think differently about your products or services than your regular customers.

In a cafe example:  To a regular customer, the cafe might be a place for an occasional pick-me-up, or a casual place to meet a client out of the office.  To a great customer, the cafe is their breakfast bar.

Get talking to the the great customers you already have.  Find out their thoughts on your products, what is it about them that make them great customers, and  why they choose you over your competitors.

Once you have an understanding of who your best customers are, and WHY they are great customers. You can use the information to:

  1. Encourage your standard customers to become Great customers
  2. Target your marketing at those people who are most likely to become great customers

Rather than aiming to get just more customers, your ultimate goal should be to get more GREAT customers.

Last Question:

What do you offer to your best customers to let them know how much you value them?  Do they know they are a VIP to your business?

About Al

Alistair has managed and built small businesses in a varied industries from agriculture to the web. Years in sales lead to his obsession with marketing.
In his spare time he enjoys time with his family, sails and reads marketing books.
Get more from Alistair on Twitter and Google+.


  1. Great, but how does a Cafe do this: “Target your marketing at those people who are most likely to become great customers”?

  2. Hi Sheldon, thanks for the comment.

    I came across a great example of targeting the ‘great’ customers in a recent chat with a Christchurch cafe owner. His cafe has a diverse customer base, but his best customers are executives who have offices in his building.

    To encourage their custom, he introduced a prepay card that they can load credit onto, for which tehy receive a small discount on all of their purchases. The card also speeds up the transaction, as they can swipe their own card to pay for the purchase.

    The main benefit for the executives though, is that they don’t have to juggle cash and work out change when they buy coffee for more than one person. They just hand their cards to the person who drew the short straw to go to the cafe.

    The great thing about this system, is that the cafe card became a bit of a status symbol among the executives and encouraged most of them to sign up.

    Obviously this idea won’t work for all cafes, but it is a great example of targeting the best customers, making it easier for them to be customers, and making them feel important.

    (I like your blog by the way)


  3. We agree that great customers are what we need. We let our great customers know they are VIP as in, we give them priority in getting the job done for them. So they get their jobs back faster. We also think about what we would do if one of great clients left us ? Well lets do it now to make them feel valued instead of waiting till they leave for a better offer or service somewhere else.

    Kind regards Malc.


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