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Flip the Funnel: How to Use Existing Customers to Gain New Ones by Joseph Jaffe

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BY FAILING TO CLOSE THE LOOP

Marketing is not a campaign; it’s a commitment. The same is true of customer bonds or the connections between a brand and its community. In today’s marketplace, our relationships with customers seem to mirror the current divorce rate (which is way north of 40 percent in the United States, and rising.) There’s an acute lack of patience and staying power when it comes to forging lifelong, inseparable ties with customers. Perhaps the reason for this is an insufferable focus on short-term results and the immediate gratification that comes from making the sale. It’s really emblematic of what I call “sales sickness,” an epidemic of sorts, where there is a wholesale abandoning of the ship at the exact moment the cash register chalks up the transaction. Call it after-sales support on its basic level, but it’s more than that. Failing to close the loop is lack of follow-through or follow-up. It’s an inability to stay the course, and stay connected in the process.
An interpretation of failing to close the loop is neglecting to use the knowledge, insights, and feedback from customers to actually change or improve things. Using customer suggestions—either solicited or unsolicited—as market research is absolutely mission critical, but it’s wasted and worthless if it doesn’t have a direct line back to the powers that be to assess and ultimately implement. For example, pharmaceutical giant Merck changed its entire commercial model after extensive customer research ...

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