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Colas are nothing but addictive, obesity-causing poisons…

Sweet, sweet addictive poisons…

I love colas. Dr. Pepper is my favorite. I can drink that stuff like it’s going out of style. Periodically I give them up. I go through phases of being really healthy, eating right, and laying off the sugar. But so far in my 37 year old life I have eventually returned to them every time. But I know…and it is not uncommon knowledge…colas are loaded with sugar and cause you to get fat. Over time, if you drink enough of them they can cause diabetes.

In some ways, they are much like cigarettes. Highly pleasing. Highly dangerous to your health. And just like a chain smoker…despite the risks, I continue to consume.

So what the heck does this have to do with marketing?

Even though I know that colas are bad for me, I continue to purchase and consume them. Why? Because I am dependent on them.

In business, you want to breed dependence while practicing independence.

I didn’t create this concept, but I forget where I read it. Whoever first said this, I apologize for the lack of recognition, but I applaud your brilliance.

So…what can you do to cause your customers/clients to be dependent on you? You need to think of ways to offer everything your customers need. To cause them to be so plugged into your business that it is extremely inconvenient and/or expensive to leave. If you provide a service, you need to have your customers so dependent on your advice and wisdom, that it would cause them great pain to leave.

This could be as simple as being a friend. If a highly profitable client just likes to call and talk non-business on occasion, it may be worth it to be the guy’s friend and let him have some of your time. However, never forget that time is the most precious resource there is, so it should not be given away lightly.

If you operate a house painting company, maybe you also do roof/gutter work. Make yourself indispensible. What complimentary yet necessary products or services can you offer in addition to your core business?

From a marketing standpoint, you need to be careful not to dilute your message or try to be too many things to too many people. I think this is a strategy that works best with existing customers. Now that they are already doing business with you, what other things that they buy can you sell to them? Finding ways to sell more stuff to your existing customers can have a profound impact on your business.

We’ve focused on the breeding dependence part of the above formula here. We’ll hit on the practicing independence part another time.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna go crack open a Dr. Pepper.