The seeds for The New Marketing Method were first sown by a Frenchman known as Voltaire in 1759. Voltaire ended a short novel called Candide with these words: “… we must go and work our garden.” Think of that garden as your current customer/client base.

In a broad sense, that garden is going to be impacted by all of the factors associated with succession success. For now, though, let’s just focus on how two of the success factors impact how well your garden grows: strategic planning and business performance.

A well developed strategic plan routinely includes an objective or goal for increasing market share. In many cases, the focus is on exploring for new markets to sell products and services. That’s certainly necessary; but if it comes at the expense of ignoring your current client base, you are making expansion more difficult than it needs to be. Simplify your life and reduce your marketing expense by developing deeper relationships with your clients.

To exploit your customer base (work the garden) most effectively, follow these basic steps to uncover more opportunities in all economic conditions:

  1. Sort your customers by gross revenue and by net profitability. If you’ve never done this, you may be surprised at the results.

  2. Identify the common characteristics shared by your “best” customers and clients. There are all kinds of industry specific demographic characteristics such as size, location, age, nationality, and more that can help you find your market “sweet spot.”

  3. If you have multiple products/services to offer, create a customer/product matrix. That will show you what other product/service opportunities with existing clients are available to you.

  4. Use focus groups to talk with and listen to your customer/client base. They may be using another source for needs that you could meet because they don’t know you can meet them! You may uncover some unknown reasons they aren’t using you.

  5. Court your client base. Taking them for granted is a quick way to lose market share.

  6. Focus your marketing dollars. High leverage opportunities are especially critical during slow-to-tough economies. 

A friend often talked about organizations that stepped on dollars to pick up pennies. Like gardens, markets get weedy because someone forgets to do the basics. Go work your garden! 

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