Great Leaps Forward




I don’t mean to offend all those hard-working ‘Heads of Customer Acquisition’ out there, nor denigrate your role in anyway. You’ve got a tough job. But the role you’ve been given worries me. Why are we busy trying to ‘acquire customers?’

It makes customers sound like a commodity you pick off a shelf, rather than people that need to be wooed and loved. What if your role was reframed to something much more straightforward and attractive? Like making friends?



Googling the phrase ‘customer acquisition’ is a truly frightening experience. In the digital age something so simple has been strategised and jargoned to death. But strip away all the bluster and making friends with someone isn’t so complicated.

Looking back on our range of work to win new customers for clients, some common themes emerge. What we’ve done for our clients is simply help them make friends.

Whether we’re trying to talk to people who want to replace their double glazing, look after the birds in their garden, or those simply trying to protect their professional integrity, the principle of simply making friends holds true.

Of course you’d do your very best to look good, and introduce yourself properly. We all like people who make themselves attractive and clearly understood. But though first impressions count, that’s only the beginning.

Beyond the pleasantries, you need to come armed with interesting stories to tell. There’s nothing better than a raconteur, someone who can easily break the ice, with an interesting, topical, or better still, enlightening story to tell.

But none of us like people who are all talk. The art of good conversation is to give, rather than just take; to make it personal to the person your talking to. You have to be clearly interested in the people you’re talking to.

Building a lasting relationship is all about trust after all. Not just what you say, but what you do. You need to keep your promises. If you disappoint early in the relationship, it’s hard to win someone back.

Of course friendship does take time. It’s not a one-hit wonder. It’s many small interactions, conversations and occasions that all add up to shared experiences that bind you together.

But play it right, you might just make a friend. Not just for today. But for life. And in marketing there’s simply nothing more valuable than that.