Does your growing small business even need marketing?

Recently I spoke with a small business owner who has a medium size pharmaceutical company that just expanded from his parent’s five million dollar building to a new state-of-the-art fourteen million dollar building. As I was admiring the slick ‘green’ interior while doing a walk through, I asked the CEO “what’s your biggest marketing challenge?”

He looked at me in thought for a moment and said “we don’t have one. We go to one trade show per year and all of our business comes from repeat customers.”

I looked around the brandy new beautiful building and just nodded at his response. (I was not there as a marketing consultant so I didn’t feel my opinion was necessary. From the looks of it, this guy already knew what he was doing.)

But on the way home I kept rolling the thought over and over in my mind. No marketing. One trade show. Repeat business. Hmm. All his sales came from repeat business. But what about new business? I knew the old adage: It’s cheaper to keep a old customer that it is to get a new one. Five times cheaper. So this guy kept his acquisition costs down by keeping his old customers happy. And very happy it looked like. So next my thoughts went to customer service – which to me is a form of marketing and business development. If this CEO was not striving for new business – this is a family company so no shareholders – that all of his current customers must be highly satisfied and giving him their NEW BUSINESS. Bang! How can a company better market to their existing customers automatically leading to repeat business while keeping their new customer acquisition budget very low? By making things easy for their customer. By making sure that their customer service is the best there is – better than even their customer expects. By making sure their customer is happy, happy, happy.

Give your current customer the greatest customer service that you think is the best. And when you are done with that, put yourself in your customer’s shoes and think about what would make them ecstatic. Over the moon. And then you know what? They’ll not only give you their new business, they’ll market for you and you’ll get their referral business too.

Stay tuned because on my next episode of “The Marketing Blog”, I’ll offer some creative ways that you can keep your existing customers very, very happy.

PS. Thomas Edison would take one morning twice a month and think. Just think. Try it. Think about what would make your business better. Think about what would make your current customer’s life easier. And do that. And I’ll bet you that you will reap some serious rewards.


Freelance writer, Leslie Ann Dyer (Twitter @L_A_Dyer), was born in one of the scariest places in the country: New Jersey. After graduation from high school, she eventually found her calling in art garnering a fine arts degree with a concentration in graphic design from The College of New Jersey. She then spent six years mixing art and technology with a bunch of engineers at Bell Labs. She went on to get an MBA in marketing from the University of New Hampshire because 'the mountain biking and snowboarding are better up there'. Now she enjoys fiction writing for herself and freelance business writing for Fortune 500 and small business.

About Leslie Ann Dyer

Freelance marketing communications services with the end-game in mind. Making business communications affect customer action to increase sales.

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Offering professional freelance writing services for large and small business writing corporate brochures, website copy, newsletters, blog posts, presentations, and resumes. I offer expert proofreading services and marketing collateral consulting services.

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