In the world of small business marketing (and even large biz) we are not balanced in our focus and approach to retention and leads. This is a concept that was originally hashed out by Seth Godin in his book Permission Marketing. I had the pleasant experience to review the idea through Chris Baggott’s book, Email Marketing by the Numbers. Chris does a better job at paraphrasing Seth’s thoughts:

“As marketers, we usually don’t approach our customers like we would approach a potential spouse, do we? No, we’re more like a drunken frat boy at his first freshman mixer. Most marketers approach customers and prospects more intent on the one-night stand than the long-term relationship. We know it’s wrong… but we do it anyway.” 

The concept is not what is fascinating… it has taken us eleven years to start moving towards the concepts discussed in Seth’s book.. that is what is fascinating. We are still debating them! As marketing professionals… we don’t have a problem with lead generation. Yes, we probably could use a better rate of return.. a better ROI… or any other acronym with business acumen.

Our problem?

We have a problem building relationships. We focus intently on generating new customers and new leads that we forget our best salesperson is our current customer! Also from Chris:

“At the end of the day, people associate themselves with other people that they life. Your constituents want to like you and have a relationship with you.” 

Why is it so hard for marketers to focus on the relationship instead of the lead? I believe we have major… deep seeded issues with building relationships with our customers! Are we actually truly afraid of our customers?