Digital Branding 1: The Return Of The Long Term

A consequence of the ability to measure certain things easily online is that most people now measure easy things. Anyone with a Google account can figure out conversion rates and traffic sources. What’s happening is that people in many markets are realizing the limits of mining for keywords and clickthroughs – everyone and anyone knows how to do it.

So we’re on to the next phase, which turns out to be old news: marketing is about getting and keeping good customers. And the best measure keys on an understanding of the Lifetime Value of A Customer, or at least the value of winning their favorable brand perceptions and behaviors past the next click.

There is some truth in the idea that there’s no such thing as brand loyalty anymore. But it’s more accurate to say you can’t assume loyalty anymore; you have to work for it continuously. And it’s also clear, as a result, that a small but loyal customer base is more of a valuable asset than ever.

If all you’re measuring is sales and traffic, you are not doing marketing. You are not measuring customer acquisition and retention; you are measuring dollar volume acquisition and retention. A good score there will keep you employed through your quarterly Board meeting. Congratulations.

But think now about the question of what happens when you adjust your view to consider the next purchase, the next year, or a lifetime. What asset are you building? What value are you creating? What relationships are you solidifying? How does that change the way you approach your interaction with customers and potential customers through design, technology, social media, social responsibility, metrics, advertising, customer service, and even how you hire and train staff?

The answer is, it can change everything.

What’s magic is that the further out you think, the greater the chance that the interests of your customers and the interest of your organization, and even greater social interests, intersect and align. The more likely it is that you will be competing for customers, not competing against your own interests.

You could argue that the most important role of marketing in any organization is to get people thinking longer term, about getting and keeping customers and growing a meaningful, profitable company.

So adjust your sightlines forward a notch and we’ll explore further in Part 2.

P.S., A related read on Seth Godin’s blog:

~ by joshuakelly on November 24, 2009.

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