The 7 Ps of Customer Retention Marketing


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The 7 Ps of Customer Retention Marketing

  1. 1. The 7 Ps of Customer RetentionMarketingby Karl WirthPublished on September 11, 2012When we think of marketing, we often think of Marketings efforts to acquire customers. The world,however, is moving toward relationship-based business, including subscription services andsubscription commerce—but also most other business.Consider consumer packaged goods companies that used to have no direct relationship withcustomers, who bought in box stores. Many CPG companies are now using online and socialmediums to build direct relationships with their customers.In this world, customer retention is just as important as customer acquisition. So how do the 7 Ps ofmarketing apply to customer retention marketing?1. People are the most important. Retaining customers is about building relationships, andrelationships are about people. Treat your customer as a person, and not a customer; start by hiringpeople who show they care about others.Compare how you behave driving in rush-hour traffic with how you drive down your own street pastyour neighbors. When you know you will see people again, or if you want to see them again, youtreat them better.The whole company needs to care about customers and customer retention, and one executivemust be responsible to ensure thats so—hence the rise of the chief customer officer.2. Product is a very close second in importance to "People." If your product is off, you will have adifficult time with the rest of the Ps. However, if the product is on target, you will accomplish the restof the Ps much more easily.When designing your product or service for maximum customer retention, provide quick time tovalue, continued value over time, and high quality (those are what Apple does so well). Sometimesthere is another P: Packaging. I include packaging as part of the product (or service), and the key toit is polish.3. Place obviously matters when you are figuring out where to put your physical store, but whatabout when youre online? Does it matter there? Yes. If I am looking to communicate with mycustomer and offer them an upsell, I could send them an email or message them right while they areshopping, browsing, or working on my site. The first communication is out of context and has a lowchance of response. The second is in context and has a higher likelihood of response. “Place” iscontext, and context matters.4. Price. In any good relationship, people take care of each other. That is now the expectation in thecustomer-business relationship as well. Our customers assume that we will look after them. That iswhat they pay us to do. In an e-commerce business, that sort of relationship means providing deals
  2. 2. for our recurring customers. In a subscription business, that means rolling new features (some, notall) into the service, over time, without charging more.5. Promotion. How should you promote your product or service to customers to retain them, upsellto them... and keep them for the long haul? Quite differently from how you promote to a prospectivecustomer. Why? Because the person is your customer. You know, or should know, him or her. Youknow what the customer bought from you or how he or she uses your service. You can use thatinformation to message customers in a more targeted, appropriate, helpful, and effective way. Dontspam them with the same generic info you send to everyone else. Send them targeted emails andin-context messages.6. Processes. To succeed in all of the previous Ps, and for this success to be more than a one-timefluke, you need good processes, such as monitoring social media and engaging customers there,surveying customers for satisfaction, and implementing marketing automation. My company uses itsown customer engagement solution to understand how each customer is engaging with thebusiness. We look for positive or negative patterns and respond accordingly, sometimes by personor email but often right in our application with a targeted message based on behavior.7. Positioning. If you want to retain your customers, you have to know who you are andcommunicate that clearly and repeatedly to them so they know who you are as well.Foremost, however, is this: Your actions must communicate your positioning. Those actions areshowcased in the people you hire, the product you ship or service you deliver, the price you chargeand the discounts you provide, the place and promotions you choose, and the processes you put inplace.Combined, your words and actions say "This is who we are and what you can expect of us."***By acting on the 7 Ps of Customer Retention Marketing, you can keep your customers; make theirinteractions with your business successful; and in so doing make your business more successful.Karl Wirth is the CEO and a co-founder of Apptegic, a customer intelligence and marketingautomation solution that enables online businesses to understand each customer and respond inreal time.Read more: