In the context of my book, Brand Rituals™: How Successful Brands Bond with Customers for Life, I defined five myths that inhibit traditional marketing success. This is the fifth myth and possibly the most important for all businesses, large and small, to grasp in order to drive profitable growth over time.

According to the latest Media Post Blog, Research Brief, a new joint study by BIA/Kelsey and Manta finds small business’ existing customers spend 2/3 more and cost 10 times less than new ones. They go on to say “for the first time, small businesses truly grasp the impact their customer base has on their long term business viability.” Really? Is that such a big insight? In my experience, small business owners have long understood that relationships with their best and most regular customers are critical to their existence. They focus on keeping their regulars happy and see sustainable and profitable growth. They also listen to their best customers and evolve to better meet their needs, and do it in a friendly and familiar way – all small businesses I frequent regularly know me by name!

Through the power of research, data and analytics, large businesses have now gained the ability to identify and treat their best customers in the same way as small, local businesses. What an irony. I have a perspective on why this BIA/Kelsey and Manta study is news at this time. It is the availability now of sophisticated tools and capabilities (ones that only large businesses could afford until now) to businesses of any size. From Google to Salesforce. From QuickBooks to Office 365. Cloud-based offerings are providing huge amounts of data and the ability to analyze it to entrepreneurs who have been hungry for this kind of information. Small business owners can now track their customer behaviors and transactions to a high degree and do this quite inexpensively. In fact, Manta’s mission is to help small businesses grow by engaging with their customers online. And, tools like Google Analytics make it really easy for them to glean very actionable insights. Insights that validate what they’ve known all along – focus on your best and regular customers, and you can smile all the way to the bank.

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