The situation completely changes when your objective is to retain existing customers. In the customer retention contest, your company is the incumbent and part of the customer's status quo. Therefore, one key to customer retention success is to enhance or strengthen the status quo bias and use it to your advantage.
It should be obvious that customer acquisition and customer retention call for entirely different kinds of marketing content. For customer acquisition, marketing content needs to disrupt the status quo; for customer retention, marketing content needs to reinforce the status quo. Unfortunately, recent research indicates that most B2B marketers aren't making this critical distinction.
In a 2017 survey by Corporate Visions:
- Fifty-eight percent of respondents said they saw no need to use different content for customer acquisition vs. customer retention.
- Only about one-third of respondents said they were using customer retention content that is specifically designed to reinforce the status quo. Two-thirds of respondents said they use disruptive content or product-oriented cross-sell/upsell messaging for customer retention.
Other research by Corporate Visions has shown that content which focuses on reinforcing the status quo is more effective for customer retention that provocative/disruptive content or product-focused messaging.
Astute business leaders have long recognized the importance and value of building and sustaining strong relationships with existing customers, but two recent developments have made customer retention particularly important.
- As I wrote in an earlier post, the shift to subscription-based business models elevates the importance of customer retention because in a subscription-based business, customer profitability depends largely on the length of the customer relationship.
- The adoption of account-based marketing also raises the importance of customer retention. When business leaders implement ABM, they make a conscious decision to focus their marketing and sales efforts on a relatively small number of high-value prospects. Once these high-value prospects are acquired, it's obviously important to keep them for as long as possible.
In a future post, I'll discuss what causes the status quo bias and how to create content that reinforces it.
Image courtesy of Dave_S. via Flickr CC.