Customers Drive Your Business, They Are Not Your Assets
Yesterday’s #IMCchat (Integrated Marketing Communications) on Twitter included a conversation about customers as assets. I don’t believe customers should be called assets, and I found myself in a very lonely minority. As always, conversation refines and clarifies perspective, and the following tweet from Anna Barcelos was key in refining this perspective.
— Anna Barcelos (@abarcelos) June 9, 2011
Customers are incredibly valuable, and the things that are valuable in business are assets. Your marketing analytics or financial analysis group even tracks the exact value of your customer, and it is a metric you should cherish. That is reasonable, but I still will not start labeling customers “assets.” Here’s why.
- My Wife is my Friend. Calling a customer an asset is like me introducing my wife as my friend, and stopping. It would be true, my wife is my best friend. But it isn’t accurate, it does not begin to capture the significance of our relationship. Likewise, customers are assets, but labeling customers “assets” doesn’t begin to capture the real value of customers to your business.
- You Own Assets. Business assets, unlike customers, are bought, sold, owned, rented, or leased for the benefit of the company. A customer contract is a business asset but the customer relationship will drive long-term customer value. Customer relationships are developed, nurtured and maintained and cannot be treated as business assets.
- You Serve Customers. Your business is built on serving your customers, meeting or exceeding their expectations at every turn.
Yes, this is semantics, but as every marketer knows, the words we choose are critical. Labeling customers “assets” undervalues the core your business is built on to those that deal in real business assets.
Instead, focus on serving your customers. Meet your customers’ business needs, exceed their expectations and develop the relationships that deliver long-term customer value.
Assets are valuable, your customers are priceless.