Sunrise to sunset – building relationships for the long term

Sunrise to sunset is another one of those phrases that focuses the mind on long time commitment to a customer. Others include ‘cradle to grave’, ‘womb to tomb’ and, more graphically, ‘lust to dust’.

Sunrise to sunset is about interacting with customers at different stages of their purchasing lifecycle. This keeps them active, engaged and informed in what value you can offer them at different times, so they don’t leave you.

Various research has shown that acquiring a new customer is anywhere from five to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one.

That’s common sense… your cost of sales and marketing costs are considerably reduced and over time, your customers become partners and hopefully advocates your products and services – the holy grail for profitable, long term business relationships.

But, sadly, common sense isn’t common practice.

Harvard Business Review (HBR) makes the case directly. “If you’re not convinced that retaining customers is so valuable, consider research done by Bain & Company that shows increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%.

So why are marketers always trying to fill the leads funnel when the valuable customers are falling out of the bottom of it?

HBR says there are four main reasons for customer churn.

The first is that churn is just the nature of the business and it can’t be changed. The second is that people investigate the symptoms but rarely the look at the behaviours that are causing the churn. The third is that if the business has accepted a churn rate %, why raise it up the management flagpole and challenge it? The fourth is caused by a mismatch between the business goals and the customer’s needs. You could describe this as the ‘wrong’ customers but it’s more likely that the company’s business model and value proposition is misaligned.

Sunrise to sunset forces us to think long term, engage with our customers and really understand what they are trying to achieve. HBR sums it up nicely “The goal is to bring in and keep customers who you can provide value to and who are valuable to you.”

That’s why a long term, sunrise to sunset makes all the difference.