Acquisition/retention split is false economy…

David Reed’s article on loyalty (MW last week) included the alarming and I’m not sure entirely accurate quote that clients are dividing marketing departments between acquisition, which uses advertising, and sales promotion and retention, which uses direct marketing.

This simplistic division of roles and the channels required to fulfil them misses the vital point that the most effective communication both acquires and retains at the same time.

For example, the O2 television campaign offering improved value for loyal users to reduce churn also attracts non-users by portraying a network that looks after its customers. And the AOL Discuss campaign clearly reaches out to consumers beyond its traditional base while reassuring its increasingly tech-comfortable customers that they are with the best ISP provider.

On the flip-side of this direct mail could be seen simply as retention activity. Again, however, this definition misses the main opportunity – that in many sectors current customer advocacy is the single most important acquisition vehicle. Rather than desperately hanging on to customers, the content of this communication needs to give reasons (and not just member-get-member schemes) to recommend the brand.

While the division of retention and acquisition sits neatly on a spreadsheet, simply dividing the two tasks will result in lower returns from communication and the type of commoditised market described in reference to the insurance sector. Integrated thinking across the two is the only way to address this type of downward profit spiral in the longer term.

Ollie Joyce Partner Rise Communications London SE1

Latest from Marketing Week

Marketoonist on PowerPoint pitches

The Marketoonist

Tom Fishburne is founder of Marketoon Studios. Follow his work at marketoonist.com or on Twitter @tomfishburne See more of the Marketoonist here Tom Fishburne will be speaking at the Festival of Marketing, which is taking place on 4 and 5 October at Tobacco Dock. To find out more information, including how to book tickets, visit […]

PLEASE SIGN IN OR REGISTER. IT'S FREE, QUICK AND EASY!

Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and inspiration that will help you develop as a marketer and leader.

Register and receive the best content from the only title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work, so we can make Marketing Week more relevant to you.

Register now

THE BEST CONTENT

Our award winning editorial team and columnists will ask the biggest questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.

THE BIGGEST ISSUES

From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we will be your guide.

PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Dedicated to developing your skills and helping you achieve marketing excellence. Find guidance on leadership, professional development and the latest industry jobs.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3711 or email subscriptions@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here