The Marketing Bureau

Specialist Marketing & Communications Resourecs



Where Does My Money Come From?

By Brian H Meredith

The customer is the only place the money comes from.


There is no other source of income that a business receives other than sources who have to be repaid (banks, finance companies, shareholders etc.)

So, a business establishes itself in order to make a Profit. The top end of that process relies entirely on income from customers. No customers, no money.


So, given this compelling, simple, reality, why do so few businesses seem to “get” this and design, nourish and nurture their thinking, their planning and their behaviours with the sole source of income – customers – at the centre of all that they do?

I really do wish I knew the answer to this. But I really don’t.

And in the 21st Century where the world of marketing is changing at a phenomenal rate (and not always for the best), the customer is becoming less and less of an icon and more and more of just another number in big data.

And yet a single customer in a supermarket will spend, on average, $600,000 between the ages of 18 – 60 years. So why isn’t this customer at the centre of the typical supermarket universe?

Why does the supermarket not know where they came from, why they are there, what they are doing, how they are selecting, where they will be heading when they leave and if and when they will come back? The reality is that we are completely anonymous as customers in a supermarket and whilst some supermarket brands are attempting to address this, the majority have not done so or have failed.

Jean-Paul De Clerck, a 360° interactive marketing consultant, wisely states on : “Some marketers tend to believe that, since people increasingly use social network sites to connect with their friends, their businesses also have to be friends with their (future) customers. It’s never a bad idea to treat your customers as your best friends but this doesn’t mean they want to be your friends. They want your social presence to be relevant, and they want you to be a value generator, perhaps even a trustworthy source or someone they ‘like’ but most of all they want you to respect them. As a matter of fact, they want to be the centre of your marketing universe, regardless of channels and media”. 

The reality of mass media has now evaporated and we are heading into a world of “markets of one” – every single customer must be treated as an individual, understood on as many levels as possible and managed as a relationship, not just another number.

The more we know and understand our customer, the more we can develop and design our products and services (and the overall customer experience) to meet that customer’s needs or wants and, as a result, the more we are likely to develop a relationship where that $600k of grocery shopping will be consistently expended in our business and not in our competitors.

And the base from which we need to start currently looks like this:

The second edition of the Multichannel Customer Experience Report by Foviance and Econsultancy shows that only 26% of companies have a well-developed strategy in place for improving customer experience.

So the potential is significant.

In a recent LinkedIn Post, Gordon Beattie of Beattie Comms said:

“Customers are the No 1 reason you are in business.

Treat them badly and you’ll suffer the consequences. Treat them well and you’ll reap the rewards.

By providing great customer service, you increase the lifetime value of a client. By reducing customer churn, you are able to spend less on fishing for new business.

In other words, you get the double whammy of increasing sales while reducing your costs.

If you want to build a great sustainable business, it makes sense to put customer service at the top of your agenda.”

In order to shift your business to a market orientation (where your customer is “at the top of your agenda”), think about these simple initial steps you should take:

Start listening and take into account the voice of the customer. And don’t only use dashboards to do it: get out there, talk, survey and test.


Move away from campaign-centric and message-centric marketing to triggered and personalized cross-channel flows, based on the digital footprints of your customers.


Measure across every possible channel and touch point to identify problems and solve them.


Integrate marketing tools, channels and CRM in a bi-directional way in order to gain a single customer view and improve future interactions.


Measure qualitative metrics instead of only simple quantitative ones and analyze behaviour. You don’t need click data but customer intelligence (and obviously act upon it).


Make sure you provide personalized messages at the right time to the right person via the right channels or online properties and realize that the behaviour and preferences of your customers define what’s “right” in the whole equation.


Remove obstacles and make it simple and clear. Or as Gerry McGovern puts it: the longer people stay on your website, the worse. Simplicity and efficiency are good friends.



In summary, the customer is the only place your money comes from and it therefore makes complete and logical sense to orientate you business and everything that it thinks, says and does, toward that customers.


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