Customer Retention for Creative Enterprises

Customer retention is achieved by listening to customers and building closer relationships with your best customers.

It’s easier – and cheaper – to keep an existing customer than find a new one. This marketing maxim is common sense, yet most marketing effort seems to go into the more glamorous pursuit of winning new customers. So let’s think about how we can make the most of our existing customers (the good ones!), by listening to them, understanding their points of view, and then doing more business with them.

Creative businesses which have chosen the right customers find it much easier to listen to their clients and build long-lasting relationships with them. Market research (ie listening to customers) is essentially about respecting customers and taking an attitude that they are people from whom we can learn rather than just ‘punters’ we can sell to. The term ‘market research’ tends to make us think about expensive surveys but in fact some of the best market research is inexpensive and low-key; it’s about taking the time to find ways to understand what the customer really wants from our creative products or services.

Useful and proven techniques for listening to customers includeFocus groups provide a setting for people to discuss ideas in an informal way to draw out new ideas and unexpected opinions. (Why not take a few clients out for a drink and a chat?). Questionnaires can be easily set up online using free or low-cost services such as Survey Monkey, to test consumers’ opinions about how well you are doing.

Finding out what customers really value can be surprising and valuable insights can be gleaned from understanding their different perspectives. For example purchasers of sculpture might be more interested in an investment than the art for its own sake; and theatre-goers might be buying into a community as much as a performance. Hong Kong fashion designers Dialog recognise that they are selling hope along with their t-shirts; and poetry publishers could be selling books as cultural accessories as much as pages of literature. It’s important to understand that customers often want to buy an experience, a story, ‘belonging’, or status from the creative enterprise. So we should package and enhance our offerings to add value in these ways. They might even want to buy a little bit of the creator through a meeting with him/her or an ongoing dialogue. The ‘story’ of having met the performer or artist can be what the customer treasures most. We don’t know until we ask them and open ourselves up to the possibility that customers might see value in different ways than we expect them to.

Once we understand the various ways in which customers value what creative businesses are selling, we an add value – and increase the price accordingly. The right packaging, a signed letter from the creator, a souvenir of the experience, a written guarantee, or detailed information about the product can greatly add value for the customer at little expense to the creative enterprise.

So if you regard your best customers as partners rather than targets, give them ‘a good listening to’ instead of talking at them, they will reveal new insights about your creative enterprise and ways in which it could delight its customers even more.

But in terms of your relationship with your customers, the big question is this: Are you prepared to listen?

Customer retention

There is more information about customer retention in David’s books, other publications, videos and free resources.

customer retention

customer retention

David Parrish inspires and empowers creative entrepreneurs world-wide as an international creative industries speaker, consultant, trainer and author.

Business Adviser – Creative and Digital Industries

Creative and digital businesses grow with the help of David’s expertise in creative entrepreneurship. He shares his expertise through his speeches, training workshops, coaching and books on business growth.

David advises businesses on strategic development, marketing, leadership and growth in his capacity as a qualified and experienced business adviser and management consultant, working world-wide.

He helps clients by drawing on his own direct experience as an entrepreneur as well as his work helping hundreds of creative, digital, cultural and arts businesses around the world. His direct experience is backed up by academic qualifications and professional accreditations in business strategy, marketing and leadership. He is a Chartered Institute of Marketing ‘Chartered Marketer’. David has an MBA (with distinction). In addition, he is a Fellow of the Institute of Leadership and Management (FInstLM). He is also honoured to be a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

David is a UK expert and international creative industries speaker. He has helped hundreds of businesses in more than 50 countries to achieve greater success on their own terms. This is achieved by using smart business development techniques that fit with their creativity, ambitions and values. His creative industries consulting focuses on the needs of creative industries businesses, cultural enterprises and arts organisations.

Successful creative enterprises integrate creativity and business. David’s T-Shirts and Suits® approach helps creative people (‘T-Shirts’) use smart business thinking (‘Suits’). His entertaining and inspirational speeches illustrate ways in which businesses can use creative business models and powerful business techniques to achieve greater success. His creative industries consulting with individual businesses guides them to success by combining their creative passion, strengths and goals with a winning business strategy tailored to their own needs, values and circumstances.

Creative Business Books, eBooks and Audiobooks

David has written two books and several other publications especially for creative businesses. He brings his own experience of setting up and growing businesses in the creative and cultural industries. David is actively involved in the creative and digital industries as a company director and management consultant. He also shares the learning he has gained from working with hundreds of successful creative enterprises around the world. His books are available in paperback, eBook and Audiobook formats. They have been translated into several languages and published in various countries in several continents.

What they say about David Parrish…

Here are a few examples of what people say about David Parrish. His clients worldwide say how they have benefited from David’s creative industries keynote speeches. They also recommend his business advice, training, presentations, lectures and books:

“It was a pleasure to invite David to give the keynote speech at the Third International Creative Industries Conference in Novi Sad, Serbia. His speech about ‘Creative Business in the Digital Economy’ was enlightening. It was ideal for our audience that included startups, government officials, investors and agencies from Serbia and other countries. David’s speech was also broadcast on TV to reach an even wider audience. We were delighted with the positive impact that David made on the creative industries here in Serbia.”
Tatjana Kalezic. Creative Industries Cluster of Vojvodina KVIK.

“The choice to work with David was definitely the right one. In less than two days time we had crafted a cohesive short term and long term strategy that provides for desired growth, protects our IP, enables investment, and allows us to retain creative control of our technology. David’s ability to listen to your situation, to understand it, and then determine a course of action based on your specific needs and goals is rare and a makes David a joy to work with.”
– Aric Wanveer. Zero Gravity Creations LLC, Baltimore, USA

“David Parrish was a special guest of Creative Industries Summer School held in Moscow. Creative entrepreneurs from all over Russia said that David’s presentation was very inspiring, entertaining and very useful for them. His presentation “Creativity and Business: How to Succeed as a Creative Entrepreneur” was amazing and I am sure it will help develop creative entrepreneurship in Russia. David is a very bright and powerful expert.”
– Olga Kizina. Director. Creative Industries Agency. Moscow. Russia.

“Workshop participants were very impressed and inspired by David’s speech and book because he avoided using jargon, gave clear illustrations to describe what creative business is about and explained the general principles of running a creative business. He talked about some important issues, such as intellectual property, business formulas, knowing your competitors, knowing your market, and being prepared to say No.”
– HsinYi Ku. British Council, Taiwan

“David writes about creative business better than anyone I know.”

– Wayne Morris. The Creative Edge. New Zealand.

“David Parrish is a very inspirational speaker. The way he illustrates his points is excellent. He makes you laugh and instantly you start to think about your own ideas and projects.”
– Eli Folkestadaas. British-Norwegian Chamber of Commerce. Oslo, Norway.

Read more testimonials about David’s work as an international creative industries speaker, consultant, adviser, trainer and author of two books, other publications and many articles.

David Parrish international creative industries speaker, creative economy expert and author

David Parrish. (Photo: Cristina Poncu)

David’s Background, Experience and Expertise

Dave Parrish has been directly involved in the creative economy and cultural economy for more than 20 years, as an entrepreneur, manager, company director, management consultant, business adviser, coach, mentor, trainer, writer, and international creative industries speaker. For an insight into his personal background, business experience, values and his own perspective on creativity and business, read his story.