Alchemy for Business

Alchemy: a process based on the supposed transformation of matter, especially that of base metals into gold.

I recently went to the IRCE (Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition) 2012 event in Chicago and was impressed with the takeaways I left with, most of which are invaluable to business.  As I listened to people talk about “Connecting with the 21st Century Consumer,” I couldn’t help but think of the study of alchemy – creating gold out of metals and generating a higher value. It seems far-fetched, but it’s actually the perfect metaphor when talking about creating engaged customers out of your list of leads. If you took your database of customers and prospects, how would you create more gold (or, revenue) from those existing metals? My best answer is, take what you have – or could have – and generate more. What I mean by that is, the best way to define your ideal prospect is to first identify your most profitable customer. What does this profile look like? Replicate it to start creating gold “out of thin air.” This basic concept of alchemy, when applied to business, can be translated into one simple notion: create and nurture relationships that drive more revenue.

If I had a magic spell that could do this for an organization, business owners would pay millions for it. Then I realized, that magic spell would go by the name of lifecycle marketing. Okay, it’s not a magic spell, but it is the answer. So, what is it? It’s founded on the basic premise of taking what you have and generating more value out of it. I realize I’m now stretching my original metaphor, but if you could use your current contacts to create more return on investment, it might as well be considered alchemy for business. You need to start maximizing what you already have – utilize targeted and segmented conversations to drive relationships, which, in turn, drive revenue. If this makes sense, then looking into lifecycle marketing is what your company could need.

Coming from the perspective of owning my own business, I find it interesting to think about this simple solution now, which, I realize, dates back to times when creating relationships is what made business successful. When did we lose sight of this model? From what I’ve witnessed, it still holds true today – people just aren’t focusing on it. If you want to understand the difference of owning metal versus making gold, start paying attention to the significance of personalized, targeted communications. Think of the interactions with your prospects and customers as relationships that go through an entire customer lifecycle – from prospect to brand advocate. This is how businesses succeed today.

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