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Love thy (existing) customer

How the Coronavirus Crisis might help brands and businesses re-prioritise the people who already love them.

Of the many things we are all pondering right now, how we spend our time and money is top of mind. For me, it is family and some friends, who do I hold close, or even closer? Arguably, business is similar, how do we hold our existing partners and customers closer.

Clive Burcham (Founder/CEO, The Conscience Organisation)

In business, we all have spent a lot of time, energy and money chasing new customers.

At least, we used to.

The COVID crisis has changed the focus of many businesses, with renewed energy for staff engagement and safety, connecting meaningfully with customers, and finding a reason or role for their product in an unrecognisable consumer landscape. There are examples everywhere of businesses going above and beyond in supporting the people that make them possible.

There are also too many organisations that have either had to close their doors – at least temporarily – or are operating at a much lower level due to restrictions on trading or human movement.


We spend 80% of our budgets chasing 20% of our revenue.

Pareto’s 80/20 Rule suggests a small portion of your customers are responsible for the majority of your revenue. Super consumers. Brand loyalists. Addicts.

But we spend the lion’s share of marketing budgets chasing new customers, and hoping existing ones are activated by the same message.

With no “new customers” to chase, there’s a sudden absence of target audiences.


Flip the funnel.

Spend 80% (or more) of your marketing budget rewarding your current customers.

Reward them with discounts, or additional value. Support a third party cause. Surprise and delight them. Create meaningful stories for them. Help them learn or grow. Bust boredom.


Show the love to the people who already show it to you, and build a stronger relationship with them through the tough times. It’s trite to refer to a brand in human terms – no brand is my “friend” – but just like our personal relationships, we are most loyal to the ones who were there for us when times were tough.


  • Help provide reasons for your customers to continue to support you with increasingly limited resources
  • Have a stronger customer base to build from once the crisis begins to pass and restrictions are slowly lifted
  • Create and collect meaningful and valuable brand actions, assets and marketing materials
  • Avoid piggybacking, purpose-washing, or releasing tone-deaf marketing that pays lip service to the crisis followed by a standard sales message
  • Build an army of salespeople who genuinely believe in your product and brand