Evergreen: Cultivate the Enduring Customer Loyalty that Keeps Your Business Thriving by Noah Fleming
Noah Fleming is a marketing specialist who works with some of the biggest companies in the world. He also has a successful blog, where he offers advice and tips about how to build strong companies and how to interact with clients.
This, combined with a series of successful public speaking events, led to one of the most interesting marketing books ever published – Evergreen.
The title for Evergreen comes from an analogy that some businesses can grow and stay strong forever: “A great business is like an evergreen. Over time it too, can grow to be a giant, towering above others.”
GAINING CUSTOMER LOIALTY / EVERGREEN
Evergreen presents strategies that all marketers should consider when making decisions about how to attract new customers and how to keep the existing ones.
One of the biggest points that Noah Fleming stresses is that your main focus should be on your existing customers and engaging with them. In terms of costs and approachability, they are much more profitable than the potential new customers you’re trying to attract.
The main principles of every successful business are found in the 3 C’s, which Evergreen details:
These 3 items will help you get loyal customers, and they are the roots of a solid and growing company:
“If you have great content, great character, and great community, you are poised to build strong customer loyalty and Evergreen relationships.”
Many people believe that marketing is all about attracting new customers who will save your business. But unfortunately that isn’t always the case, as you’ll learn from the book. It’s cheaper to focus on your existing customers and convince them to come back and buy from you. In order to do this, first you need to start gathering data about them.
Approach your clients differently, according to at least a few criteria like age, sex, gender, and occupation:
“Many fatal business mistakes can be traced directly back to a company’s focus on acquiring new customers, its lack of appreciation of existing customers, or its lack of understanding customers’ wants and needs.”
One of the most interesting ideas in Evergreen is about the relationship between the person selling the products and the customers. We usually refer to this process as “closing a deal”. But Noah Fleming suggests seeing things from a different perspective, and calls it “opening a relationship”. And this aspect is extremely important, because we shouldn’t just be selling products and then forgetting we ever had that customer.
Why invest in attracting new customers, when we already have a lot of potentially loyal customers that just need our attention?
This is where the process of follow-up becomes important. How many times after staying in a hotel do you receive a call or an email, asking you for feedback? I’m going to guess it’s not that often. But this could be the starting point of a long-term relationship with that hotel.
If they knew you were on vacation and that you return to that city regularly, they could send you offers in advance and cultivate a more meaningful relationship with you. But most companies don’t do that because, most of the time, what’s considered “sexy” in marketing is creating campaigns that will attract new customers. Which isn’t wrong per se, but this often costs a lot more than anticipated and the results aren’t that good.
We live in an era where the need for connection is very high. We have this false sense of interconnectedness because of the Internet and the smartphones we’re constantly using. But at the end of the day, we thrive for deeper connections with other people.
This is where companies can differentiate themselves and offer a unique experience to their clients. By creating content that’s original, that’s based on good values, and that can be at the core of a community created around a certain product.
Usually, communities aren’t created by the company but by the clients. They start to interact in different online or offline environments because they have a common interest, they use your product, and they exchange ideas about it:
“Companies that recognize this need for connection and create structures that allow communities to form have a significant advantage when it comes to retaining customers, building customer loyalty, and maximizing customer value.”
Examining the 3 C’s of success – character, community, and content – a little closer, you might believe that content is the most important element. It’s crucial in many cases, but companies that are very strong, that created a great sense of community and have a great character, no longer need such a great content.
One of the examples in Evergreen is Apple:
“Apple has never been in the product business. It’s been in the business of selling the character of Apple.”
And it’s true. People don’t wait in line for the lastest iPhone because it’s the only place where they could get a phone, or because it’s the greatest thing ever created. No. They wait because they feel like they are part of a community, and they only use Apple products to cultivate that feeling.
You need to create a character that defines you. Think of it like a superhero version of your business.
You need to have a story for this superhero, and to know as many details as possible about him. People connect with things that have a story and that are similar to them. Don’t worry about not attracting every potential customer out there. You shouldn’t be even aiming for that.
You need the right customers, the ones who can help you build a strong community around your product, and who are loyal.
Customer service is a very important issue, whether you’re trying to attract new customers or focus on the existing ones. People get frustrated if they wait a long time to speak with the technical department, for example, and then just get some standard answers. Your customers want to feel appreciated. If they don’t, they’re going to take their business elsewhere.
Teach your employees to make decisions according to each customer’s need, and give them the opportunity to be a little more flexible.
There are a lot of elements that need to be put together in order to achieve an Evergreen organization. But your main focus should be your clients. Not your profits, but your clients – the people who generate your profits.
Learn as much as you can about them, target them according to their needs, offer them loyalty programs and help them build a community around your products. By harnessing the relationship you have with them, you will gain the balance that you need in your growth.
Want to get the full book in Kindle version? Get it from here:
Want more nuggets? Subscribe below.