Catalyzing Revenue

Point of View



Customers don’t want to be targeted. Instead they insist on being served with solutions and services that minimize the resources they need to spend to achieve their desired result. Why are we targeted based on what we purchased, which in many cases, ended up being a compromise? Or why are we targeted based on our income, or our mailing address, or our gender?

Currently, an estimated $70 billion is projected to be invested in target-based marketing (Universal McCann, Insider’s Report). If we estimate a generous 10% purchase conversion rate, that equals approximately $60 billion in inefficient marketing spend. The return on marketing investment in this scenario would be modest.

This is only a partial ROI picture. Target-based marketing typically creates and broadcasts a promoted experience to get people to buy. However, if they then don’t serve through the actual experience during product or service usage, customer defection and negative advocacy will result. Each dissatisfied customer typically negatively advocates to at least 11 other potential target customers. It isn’t too long before the demarketing of negative advocacy outstrips the marketing investment associated with the original target-based program.

A customer measures the quality of their experience based on how efficiently and effectively their needs were served, not on how well they were targeted. This is true for financial services, for telephone services, for entertainment services, for travel services, for medical services, for replenishment services. It applies whether the customer is classified as a consumer, a small business, a mid-sized enterprise, or a large global account.

The customer experience is always framed by what the customer is trying to do… not what they are trying to buy. Those that serve customers always keep this in their focus. For a positive customer experience, the metric is always reducing the customer’s resource spend — through making the solution/service fit the customer’s usage needs; through continuously extending the solution/service to sustain this fit. Marketing then becomes this continuous service to facilitate customer results from using the solution with all of its future upgrades and enhancements.

When marketing becomes a continuous process to serve customers, rather than promote products or services…

  • Marketing spend becomes more efficient
  • Sales costs decrease
  • Customer demand increases
  • Profits grow

Stop targeting… start serving. 

  1. Understand what your customer is trying to do and the best way for them to do it.
  2. Fit your product, solution and service into this context. This will drive potential win-win partnerships as you look to “complete” your offering to fill in any customer-perceived gaps.
  3. Make it easy for your customer to understand and purchase this solution (as measured by minimizing the amount of time they have to spend gathering and translating information).
  4. Offer a service portfolio aligned with improving customer proficiency of use (as measured by minimizing the amount of time the customer has to spend adapting your product to make it fit).
  5. Do these four things again and again as you expand your relationship and your customers expand their advocacy.