Managing The Two “Black Holes” of Business

Marketing and Customer Service are the two “black holes” of business. Both are critical, but neither is ever complete. Unlike more tangible areas of work there is no “quota” to exceed, there is no “inventory” to manage, there is no “work order” to complete.

But no matter how much is invested in Marketing and Customer Service there is always more that can be done.

After all, who doesn’t want to be the best-known company, with the best logo and tagline, with the most fun events, and the most memorable ads? Who doesn’t want to receive praise from customers, have a reputation as the “good guys,” and to know your service is more responsive and broader than your competition?

It makes us all feel good because Marketing and Customer Service touch our pride. This doesn’t mean those things are bad, or that you shouldn’t do them. But with our egos on the line it is easy to do “things” and forget purpose. They become simply an indulgence – something done to please people.

Business indulgences are very costly over the long run. Have you ever stopped a product or service when you realized there was no business return? The negative impact is often greater than the positive gain. I admit I’ve done this myself. When a vendor ceased providing a service or product I enjoyed my disappointment has caused me to search for a different vendor sometimes choosing one who never provided that service or product in the first place!

Marketing’s core purpose is to attract new customers. If everyone knows your tagline, but no one knows what you do, that is a poor investment. If your parties are well attended but only by friends and not prospects – that is missing the marketing goal. Every dollar of marketing spend must have a specific target and the target is not simply leads. It is qualified leads that become customers.

Customer service’s core purpose is to ensure existing customers receive sufficient value and remain customers. If you continually receive praise that your team goes “above and beyond,” then maybe you should be wondering why that type of effort is required to do business. Every dollar of customer service spend is an investment in renewals or additional business. Return on investment (ROI) is the indicator as to whether you are doing the right things, the wrong things, or not enough. Or too much.

Neither success for marketing or customer service can be solely measured on operational or financial measures. But it is a mistake not to measure them at all. Otherwise they easily grow into “black holes”, sucking up everything around them never to be seen again.

If you want help with your “black holes”,  contact me at

“Your customers are the lifeblood of your business. Their needs and wants impact every aspect of your business, from product development to content marketing to sales to customer service.”

– John Rampton

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