The Challenge: Traditional marketing has often focused on getting the sale. Instead, marketers should focus on retention and how to keep more customers for longer periods. Customer Lifetime Value, (CLTV), is a simple equation for helping you calculate the value of increased retention.
By understanding the lifetime value of a customer, you can determine whether you are spending enough to keep and groom customers, and what the resulting revenue will be from ongoing, repeat, purchases.
Insert actual or estimated numbers into the following lifetime value equation:
(Average Value of a Sale) X (Number of Repeat Transactions) X (Average Retention Time in Months or Years for a Typical Customer).
Kellogg Professor John Parker explains, "Organizing marketing to improve the performance of three key ingredients-lowering acquisition costs, raising total margins, and reducing the churn rate-can be an even more powerful application of CLTV for CMOs." Research from Bain & Company shows the increased value of customer retention versus acquisition:
- Acquiring a new customer can cost six to seven times more than retaining an existing customer
When we focus marketing efforts on customer retention rather than acquisition and engage customers throughout the entire relationship, the result is an increase in the lifetime value.
Three Takeaways for Marketers:
1. Engage with customers at 3 points in the customer life-cycle:
- Pre-Sale: Understand their needs and preferences and begin engaging them accordingly.
2. Cut down on email blasts and send only relevant, preference-based communications. A powerful way of proving that you care about your customer is to cut down on email blasts and only send targeted and relevant communications and offers. Consumers resent brands that indulge in "spray and pray" blasts of irrelevant email. This is viewed as disrespectful of their limited time.
3. You are probably not spending enough on your top customers. Identify the top producing customer segments and revise your spending accordingly. See the visual above.
Ernan Roman is recognized as a Customer Experience innovator and was inducted into the Marketing Hall of Fame for creating three transformational methodologies: Voice of Customer Relationship Research, Integrated Direct Marketing, and Opt-in Marketing.
He was also named by Crain's B to B Magazine as one of the "100 most influential people in Business Marketing".
His latest book on marketing best practices is titled, : Voice of the Customer Marketing: A Proven 5-Step Process to Create Customers Who Care, Spend, and Stay.
Ernan is also the author of the widely read blog, "Ernan's Insights on Marketing Best Practices", (www.erdm.com), and author of "Opt-in Marketing" and "Integrated Direct Marketing".
ERDM's Customer Experience strategies achieve consistent double-digit increases in response and revenue for clients, which include IBM, MassMutual, QVC, NBC Universal, Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, and Symantec.
As a leader in providing Voice of Customer research-based strategies, ERDM has conducted over 10,000 hours of interviews with customers and prospects of these clients to gain an in-depth understanding of their expectations for high value customer relationships.