After 12 years in the Leadership Development industry, I recently switched to a new career in the world of Enterprise Feedback Management with Mindshare Technologies. As a Regional VP, I worked internationally with some of the largest companies in the world like Cargill, Johnson Controls, Pfizer, Wells Fargo, Blue Cross Blue Shield. Business has taken me across the globe and I loved it. But it was time for a change. Most of the leaders I worked with were mid to senior executive-level, so they didn’t need much help with their technical abilities. My company’s primary focus was to help each leader enhance their people skills. We created some fantastic programs that truly helped leaders change their ability to interact and foster better partnerships in the workplace. The workshops and retreats really got participants started on a great path. But a big problem often ensued after our retreats and workshops: the leaders struggled to sustain their interpersonal changes. It wasn’t because my company didn’t have the capability to sustain their changes, but rather, it was a lack of commitment by the client to spend the additional money or to put forth the extra effort to protect that initial investment. I see the same problem in the EFM world. Without the follow up, it’s just another “flavor of the month” initiative that won’t produce long-term results. According to Reuters, corporate spending on advertising in the U.S. peaked at $234 billion in 2007. Forrester studied 26 EFM vendors this year and found that they averaged $15.5 million in revenue, totaling $403 million. Granted there are more EFM companies than just these 26, but you can see that the percentage spent on advertising vs. sustaining that investment is alarmingly different. I see this being a similar problem to what was happening in my previous career. Your company needs to shift its focus toward getting the most out of its investment. You need to focus on the people who have the biggest influence on generating revenue and profit. The person who has tried your product or service influences your revenues the most. Potential customers only generate potential, but return customers generate loyalty. They tell others about your business. You have to create a loyal customer who will give you a greater share of their mind, their mouth, and their wallet. At Mindshare, we equate this to the customer who’ll tell you what they think about your brand. This customer gives you feedback (mind), tells positive things about your brand to their friends and family (mouth), and comes back to repurchase your product or service (wallet). Companies can boost profits by 25% - 85% by retaining just 5% more of their customers. (Reicheld and Sasser – “Zero Defections: Quality Comes to Services” – HBR) There are many more reasons for companies to think about allocating a greater percentage of their marketing dollars to the back end of their customer-centric strategy. There are literally millions, if not billions, of dollars that are falling on “deaf” ears. It would prove wise for any organization to re-evaluate their strategy and include a great focus on EFM solutions. For more details on how to keep your current customers coming back, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or (801) 743-7542.