The 4 Cs of gaining social customers

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Many of us in the marketing world are focused on the science -- and art -- of customer acquisition. It's a very direct, number-driven game. Not a lot of room for branding in this world. It's about driving a volume of consumers through a gated funnel process and trying to get as many to activate as you can. The more customers, the better.

But what kind of customers do we really want? As we all know, getting a customer takes much more work than keeping a customer. Assuming your marketing department or agency excels at both, the only real consideration left is how to get more of those customers to connect socially because as everyone knows, social customers are the best ones to get and keep, bar none.

Some of your customers are preternaturally social. It's in their DNA. They love to connect. They seek it out. They activate easily, and they share frequently. Still, the process of going from customer to social customer isn't intrinsic to the larger majority of consumers. They need to be stimulated, led, and in some cases, pushed into the social fray.

By applying some of the direct marketing principles that drive customer acquisition, we can create a model that more effectively acquires and retains social customers. These social customers can be a tremendous asset in acquiring more customers. Social customers do an awful lot of advertising for you. This can sharply offset your media costs and drive the new customer acquisition costs down.

So we are clear, this article doesn't focus on how to acquire more customers who are social. Rather, it focuses on strategies and tactics that will enable us to drive more of our existing customers into forming a social connection.