To new marketers, stickiness is the new black. “Sticky clients” are the obvious solution to attrition, the ideal new business prospects, the holy grail of market segments. Stickiness goes with everything. It’s always fashionable. It’s the right answer to the toughest marketing questions. Everyone wants sticky customers.
…Which is why we keep hearing the same questions from marketing managers. “How can we make our clients more sticky? What’s makes some clients stickier than others? How can you tell which prospects are most likely to be sticky?” The problem is these questions miss the point.
Clients don’t become sticky and they aren’t born sticky. They stick because YOU are sticky.
Now that answer may seem too simple, but it’s quite the opposite. In fact, it’s one of the great conundrums of our new marketing landscape.
Fact is, it’s never about changing or controlling the customer. You can’t make customers call; you can’t make customers buy; you can’t make customers stay, and you can’t make them come back. The days of the buyer-sheep are gone. The Internet killed them.
Today’s buyers make their own decisions. They do their own research. They leverage their networks to build consultant groups. And they seldom stop looking for a better option.
And though, on the surface, we know all that, it doesn’t stop businesses from challenging marketing managers to make their customers more sticky. Because it’s the easy answer.
The hard answer – the right answer – is to make yourself more sticky. And that means improving the customer experience in every possible way: by over-committing to their needs, by over-delivering on your promises, by anticipating their evolution, by out-imagining your competition, and by obviating the pre-adolescent entrepreneur who is out to disrupt your business model with technology.
And if you get good at that, really good at it, you won’t have to worry about stickiness, because there won’t be a better option.
The right answer is a lot of work. It always is.