Evergreen by Noah Fleming

Noah Fleming – the author of Evergreen – tells us that a good business is like an evergreen tree. It can grow to be a giant over time. It can be unwavering. It can weather most storms. Evergreens remain lush, healthy and green all year round.

How can some companies effortlessly create customer loyalty while others seem to be dropping existing customers and struggling to find new ones? It all comes back to the relationship between the company and the customer. Great companies go above and beyond to nurture their relationship with their customers. This is the kind of company that becomes Evergreen.

Your business can eternally provide life, growth and regeneration. Becoming Evergreen will create a better, richer and more fulfilling experience for your customers. And you’ll gain customers faster.

Part One: Establishing Roots

It is a myth that new customers will save your business. New customers are not inherently bad, but focusing on getting them takes time, effort, energy and money away from areas where it would be much better spent, such as developing deeper relationships with your existing customer base.

In the marketing world, retention is boring. It is the chase that excites us. It is easy to measure results and often provides instant gratification. But it is even more important to show love to your current customers.

The Leaky Bucket Theory is an analogy that suggests that most business operate like a leaky bucket. Your business is the bucket and your customers are the water. The holes in the bucket represent the various areas where you lose your customers. Most businesses tend to focus on adding more water instead of repairing the holes.

The cost of ongoing customer engagement is nothing compared to the cost of acquiring new customers. If you want to experience dramatic growth within your organization, you must truly understand the relationship between profit, growth, longevity, customer relationships, employee empowerment and customer service.

The term customer-centric is a strategy that aligns a company’s development and delivery of its products with the current and future needs of a select set of customers in order to maximize their long-term financial value to the firm. Customer-centricity is crucial to be Evergreen.

Use data to monitor, measure and track customer consumption and usage and estimate likelihood of future profitability. Then market to ensure they receive the most value from the company.

If you can balance your Evergreen Marketing Equilibrium, the balance between customer acquisition and customer retention, your business will experience higher marketing effectiveness, lower customer acquisition costs, more valuable customers and greater success. Look at your rate and deepen relationships with the existing customers that matter.

The Three Cs:

For an organization to thrive in our rapidly changing economy, it must embrace the Three C’s: character, community and content.

Character is the first thing that comes to customers’ minds when they think about your business. The principle of character is about defining, crafting, and presenting the character traits that you want customers to associate with your organisation.

Human beings are prone to seek out others who share similar interests, values and beliefs. People are attracted to brand communities because they help them find others who enjoy the same products or services. Companies that recognise this need for connection and create structures that allow communities to form have significant advantages when it comes to retaining customers, building customer loyalty, and maximising customer value.

Content is the core “thing” the customer receives in exchange for money. It is necessary for a successful business. Without content, there is no business. However, only having excellent content is no guarantee of success.

If you want to be Evergreen, you need all three Cs to be working together.

Most companies believe that what they sell or provide is the most important component to their success, but they also need an effective why and who. The character of your business makes communicating with everyone easier and more effective. When a company is able to match how it sees itself with how it sees the customer, and with how the customer sees the company, an excellent synergy occurs.

To create a compelling company character, you must first develop your origin story and communicate it to your customers. Then, define your superhero. People want to do business with people and companies they like and trust, but also who fascinate them. And superheroes fascinate us. The personality of your character must be perpetuated though every piece of marketing and every bit of customer communication. Step three is to build purpose for your character’s actions. Understand your company’s purpose for doing what it does. Then, create an avatar of your character. Imagine that your company’s character and your ideal customer met today for the first time. Create a fictional conversation between them.

Organisations that successfully build customer communities experience remarkable benefits from their efforts. It will take time and money but it is well worth it. To build a customer community, you must first develop a community strategy. Once you have defined your vision, choose your tools. The Web offers great tools, but look beyond that too. Then, cultivate your community. Put the right tools and systems in place to allow shared interests, values and beliefs to spread from one member of your community to another. Then, take a step back. Let it grow organically.

Your company’s content is only one small part of your customer’s overall experience. Content is valuable, but it is important to provide an excellent customer experience too. Customers want more than just your content. They want to have an emotionally engaging experience that makes them feel good.

The Evergreen Diagnostic

The Evergreen Diagnostic features four quadrants that represent different types of companies:

Deciduous companies lose many customers each year and are constantly trying to gain new customers.

Barren companies have no customer relationship and because of that, no longevity.

Wilting companies can retain its customers, but they do little to establish customer relationships.

Evergreen companies have great relationships with their customers and keep them coming back.

Your goal should be to look at every customer transaction as an opportunity to create a long-term relationship with a lot of value.

Part Two: Fostering Growth

Your customers are all unique. Don’t speak to everyone in the same manner. Divide your customers into segments and communicate with each segment differently based on their needs, wants and values. When you know exactly who your customers are, it will become clear how to market to them. In turn, each customer will feel like you are speaking directly to him or her, which will improve his or her relationship with you.