Are new leads or existing customers top priority? If limited to one answer, it would be “yes.”

Both are important to sustaining and growing a business. According to Lisa Arthur, author of a recent article, “It’s a relatable question that most marketers pressed for time are wrestling with…As a longtime marketer, I can understand both points of view, and each deserves consideration. It’s important, too, to understand that different departmental personas – from content marketers to product marketers to the sales field – may have a slightly different opinion. For instance, a product marketer is more interested in providing excellent product expertise and benefits to customers and internal employees involved with the product. The sales team, on the other hand, will be more interested in new leads.”

No matter the prevailing view, there’s always a case to be made for continuing to treat existing customers like gold. Arthur cites stats claiming that “the cost of acquiring new customers is 7x greater than the costs of retaining existing customers…New quality leads are usually prioritized next, and followed by site visitors, or referrals.”

When focusing on new leads, companies need to understand that typically it will be an iterative process. Notes Arthur, “Fifty percent of new leads…are not ready to buy and require additional follow up—that’s where sales and content people come in.” For this group, especially, building trust and interest over time will be required.

So, what are key takeaways from all this?

1. Make sure you’re keeping your customers happy and aware of new opportunities to do business with you. But, DON’T be pushy about it. If you come across as just trying to upsell, you could very easily lose that business. Instead, reach out, ask questions, find out what they need, then—and only then—make recommendations as warranted about additional products or services;

2. Always be feeding the pipeline with new leads. Have a consistent process for follow-up. Know the hotspots and sweetspots of those you’re attempting to do business with (instead of just throwing something aimlessly against the wall to see what sticks). Figure out the right number of touches, and don’t under- or over-reach. 

Every marketing program needs a plan and a timeline.

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