A Balanced Business Model

Hopefully you’ll agree that customer acquisition is an important aspect of your business.

MineThatData by Kevin Hillstrom is a blog I read almost every day. Kevin is good about providing regular updates. I even follow him on Twitter (he’s currently one of fourteen people I follow). His insight into busines is great, but his perspective is interesting because he comes from direct mail and analytics.

Kevin’s recent post provided some good insight into customer acquisition. He talks about risk and how it varies from existing models and new models. It’s worth your time to read the entire article. Today I want to expand on his last thought from that post.

From New Customers, For Free:

There is a gulf between the world that Judy thrives in, and the world that Jasmine thrives in. We probably need a better balance between the two, don’t we?

It’s a great line and I almost missed it the first time.

Finding a Balanced Business Model

It’s obvious that 99% of the time on the GBW blog I push blogging as a good customer acquisition strategy for businesses. If you read more of Kevin’s blog you’ll see that he has a great series on customer types (Judy, Jennifer, and Jasmine). Blogging probably fits in the best with Jennifer and Jasmine, but it’s only part of the equation.

For the right demographic of customers, blogging can a great way to acquire customers. It’s not truly “free” as Kevin says. I’m sure he doesn’t actually mean it that way. But blogging should not be the entire focus of your future online business model.

If you’re looking to acquire customers of the future online then your strategy needs to include more than one method. Kevin alludes to this in the quoted line above. There is a “gulf” between the business models of the past and the present. Even the models of the future will probably be vastly different from today and the past.

With my experience with businesses in just a few years, it seems that the successful companies understand customer acquistion and the need to find various methods that are profitable. I’ve spent time with a catalog company that has been around for over 100 years. Before catalogs they sold in retail stores. They had door-to-door salesman all over the country that worked on an affiliate-type model. Then mail order catalogs became the next method and still are today.

As the Web comes into focus the company is looking for more than one way to profit from customer acquisition.

The key takeaway is that customer acquisition is changing. It’s always changed, but it’s changing faster these days.

For some businesses, blogging can be a profitable way to acquire new customers, but even if it’s successful it shouldn’t be the only method. Balance out your acquisition model. Look for multiple strategies that work and provide profit. This way when things changed (and they will change) your business will not die. If one of the models suddenly loses it’s profit generating ability you won’t be left completely in the dark.

This is what long running businesses are good at.

They change and adapt and figure out a variety of ways to generate new customers and profit.

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