Menu, Funnel or Something More Earthy?

Menu, Funnel or Something More Earthy?
3 Ways to Think About Customer Development

To be successful, you not only need to attract customers but you need to have customers who grow with you.  Here are three ways to think about customer development.

Menu ImageMenu

A restaurant menu provides choices in categories such as appetizers, entrees and desserts.  Perhaps there are additional categories such as sandwiches, lunch specials, kids options and/or a drink menu.

Think about applying this concept to your products or services.

What is the main item – or entrée item that you want customers to purchase?  Is it your selection of organic beef cuts?  If you provide a service, is it a package of 5 consultations?

What are the other items that you would like individuals to buy with those main products?  Are your appetizers and desserts a dozen organic eggs, or a recipe book?

One of the best aspects of the menu concept is that it forces you to think in categories.  Another benefit is that it helps you recognize what you want customers to focus on (ie. the entré
e).  Thirdly you can recognize which items are still important but are an ‘add on’ to the main entrée.

Marketing Funnel ImageFunnel

Many marketers promote the concept of a marketing funnel or customer funnel.  At the top is a wide opening where you attract large numbers of followers and new customers to your business.  Because customers have to spend more money and/or have greater involvement as they move through the funnel, there are not as many customers at these higher levels.

The key is to think about how your products or services encourage customers to move through the funnel.

For example, if you focus only on lower priced options, you are not providing an opportunity for that customer to spend more money with you.  If you offer a one hour session for $97, then the next step is a 6 month package for $2,997 – that is a big leap for customers.

What I like about funnels is the idea of customer progression.  It encourages you to think about how your customers will grow with you.  Product and service gaps become quite clear.

Something More Earthy

Maybe a menu or funnel is not for you.  Well what about a pathway, or a river system, or a plant guild?Two pathways...

Perhaps you think of your customers following a pathway through the forest with you.  Or perhaps they are like water droplets running together to form strong rivers.  Perhaps you can apply the concept of a plant guild with the importance of diversity and interdependence.

How could you apply this more earthy system to customer development?  Let’s take the pathway example.  Perhaps as customers move along the pathway their knowledge increases at various stops.  These stops could be equivalent to different services that you offer.  As customers grow with you they venture further into the woods on your pathway.

If using an ‘alternative’ concept like a pathway makes you feel comfortable with the concept of marketing and developing your customers – great.

Just be sure to work in the concept of development.  How will customers grow within this system?  How will this system be strengthened over time?

Don’t forget revenue!  You do need to make money so that your business can continue.  Within your system note where your products or services fit, how much revenue they will generate, and how many customers they will appeal to.

Next step

Pick a concept and start sketching it out as it applies to your business.  This will help you identify opportunities to improve customer development!