“The purpose of business is to create and keep a customer.” ― Peter Drucker

Peter Drucker's famous quote, about the most important functions of any business, is often overlooked as being too basic and frivolous to warrant too much attention.

Obviously your business is focused on getting and keeping your customers, right?

But very often in the practical challenges that I help my clients solve - applying one's active, strategic mind as to how the business can successfully create and keep a customer - powerful solutions lie.

The useful idea here is to make explicit that which is often just implicitly held in the minds of people in leadership and / or the marketing department.

By explicitly stating your strategic vision and plan in each one of the parts of this system, adjustments can also be made to better suit the intended outcome...which more than likely is a growing number of customers.

How to create & keep a customer

Getting and keeping a customer can be thought of as a system, which is made up of five (5) parts:

Your business will need to (1) develop a deep understanding of the jobs a customer needs done and then package an appropriate value proposition that delivers into that need.

You'll need to carefully consider (2) how you deliver that value proposition to the customer - in other words, what methods or channels of delivery do you open up which allows you to successfully engage with and service your customer?

You'll then need to consider (3) how you are communicating the availability and effectiveness of that solution to your customers via a good promotional strategy; and then, how you are (4) incentivising ongoing loyalty or use of your solutions with the same customers that you have managed to secure.

Each one of these parts, obviously, (5) needs to be designed and delivered in a way that is carefully informed by your particular style / brand of delivery, that facilitates you charging a sustainable financial premium for your particular value proposition.

We've synthesised these parts into the 'Customer 'Meet-and-Keep' MATRIX' graphic, which can be used as a framework for brainstorming your organisation's strategy when discussing this:

This system will naturally be carefully informed by changes in the competitive and contextual environments in which you operate and will be constantly interrogated through the lens of innovation, but does serve as a useful framework to picture how you might choose to manage your ongoing relationships with customers.


I have applied this thinking to practical business challenges relating to customer relationships for a number of different clients. Please get in touch with me if you think this, or a facilitated session with your team exploring innovative options within each of these parts, might be of use to your organisation too.