Evergreen… Cultivating the Enduring Customer Loyalty That Keeps Your Business Thriving… by Noah Fleming, a marketing expert and recognized thought leader on customer loyalty, who has become known as “The Customer Retention Guy”.

The big idea

The big idea behind Evergreen is that most companies focus intently on getting new customers, at the expense of their existing customers, which is a big mistake.  While new customers are critical to any company’s success, a more balanced split between customer acquisition and customer retention can pay enormous dividends.  And Evergreen presents the framework to help you get there…

Leaky Bucket Theory

Chasing new clients with high-profile and expensive marketing campaigns is thrilling; whereas going the extra mile for existing clients is rather boring and nobody seems to notice.

According to the Leaky Bucket Theory, most companies focus on getting as many new customers as possible through the doors, only to lose them soon after.

Ask yourself: you definitely have a ‘customer acquisition’ plan, but do you have a ‘customer retention’ plan?

Evergreen is Better!

Fostering loyalty among your clients means that you will sell more without expending additional effort educating them or onboarding them.  An evergreen client is a client that doesn’t wilt but rather stays with your forever: boosting your customer lifetime value, and the value of your business.

The 3Cs Framework

So how can your business become evergreen?  With the 3Cs framework: Character, Community, and Content.

Authentic Character

How do customers remember you after interacting with your business?  What story are they going to share with others?  You need to take control of these conversations.

Start with the story of your origin: who started the company and what challenges did they overcome?  Then, explain your true purpose.  And share a consistent message of mission and values in all your interactions with customers.

Don’t try to resonate with everyone because you will appear authentic to no one!  And don’t create a fake caricature of what you think the market expects of you.  Customers have an uncanny ability to distinguish a fake presence.

Those that will connect with your organization’s true, un-photoshoped image will feel a unique sense of belonging when they do business with you.

Engaging Community

You need to listen but you also need to provide the tools and the platform for your clients to interact with each other.  Authentic, un-moderated conversations are invaluable, especially today when we feel disconnected by technology.

Embrace your community’s lingo… make it somewhat exclusive.  And remember: communities can’t be controlled – just let go and let them grow.

Content is not enough

Content is what your customers get in exchange for money.  It’s your “what?”, which has to be in sync with your character – your purpose – and your community – how you bring your customers together.  Even though you definitely need quality Content, that’s not enough anymore: people buy based on the full experience.

Join the Evergreen club

Think of companies as trees, and their leaves are their customers.  Most companies similar to deciduous or barren trees that lose too many leaves every year.  These companies are transactional and have to spend a lot of money to constantly acquire new customers.

Instead, your company can join the ‘evergreen’ club with the 3Cs framework: your Content has to be great, your Character has to resonate with the right customers, and your Community needs to engage them.  Make the 3Cs framework your “secret sauce” to evergreen success.

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