BMC blog: Winning customers for the long term

The football transfer window closes this week and guess what?

Lots of poor last gasp deals will be done as the mantra of ‘getting bodies in the building’ takes hold in a bid to win promotion, stave off relegation or otherwise.

Trouble is, constant short termism means the same clubs will be doing the same things come the summer when the window re-opens with no discernible long-term stability.

A better way would be to plan logically – to acquire the right type of players for the long haul and set achievable ambitions and expectations.

Sound familiar? We all need to keep a close eye on the bottom line in the here and now. But a calculated long-term approach to marketing and business planning works best.

Yet how many businesses moan about not having the right type of customers or staff or other facets of their business? The problem is they often fail to acquire the right ones in the first place or woo them as they might. Why? Because they’re always looking short-term.

The best way is to spin this around by calculating the value of a lifetime (or rather lifecycle) customer – and that, I promise, will shape the way you go about acquiring them.

Let’s stick with sport for a moment.  I had a recent conversation with someone at a grassroots sports club and we discussed the potential value of a player to the club who joined as a junior, progressed through to adulthood and beyond as a player, coach, administrator and parent.

All those subscriptions, money handed over the bar, equipment and clothing could easily tot up to £15,000.

So, I reasoned, if they viewed each junior who turned up with their parents for the first time to a coaching programme as worth £15,000 they’d treat them far differently.

The red carpet would be rolled out to welcome them, thank them, nurture, support and encourage them as much as possible – if only from a financial point of view.

Do the maths. Let’s say 10 children join a scheme – convert one child long term and the benefit to the club is £15,000 – sizeable income for a grassroots club.

But what if you could tweak those numbers? Market your junior programme better to attract, say, 20 children and double your long-term conversion rate to 20 percent. That’s now worth £60,000.

Not cash in hand for now you understand – but look after them well over the long haul and these folks will pay dividends and become your best salesmen, encouraging friends and colleagues (and eventually family) to join their club which will save recruitment time, effort and costs.

Now let’s double those numbers again – 20 children signed up to the junior programme becomes 40 and you double your conversion rate to 40 percent. That’s 16 children (a team’s worth in most sports) with a lifetime value of £240,000. Impressive stuff. And here’s the good thing. Develop it right and you can repeat each year…

Now float that into your own business.

How you go about winning long lasting customers and how different or better you are at it than your competitors (and indeed the products or services you offer) is crucial to enduring business success.

Want to find out more?

Then why not attend our next Business Media Club meeting on Friday, February 22 (9.45am-12.30pm) at CGM Media Centre in Worcester when the meeting theme is: Ways to win new business via lead acquisition marketing and conversion rate optimisation – calculating the value of lifetime customers and ways you can optimise your conversion rates.

For further information and to book your seat, visit our Business Media Club page, call us on 01905 754366 or email