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Marketing is like a leaky bathtub…

The Leaky Bathtub

The Leaky Bathtub Marketing Method is a system which allows you to grow your small business in a cost-effective, sustainable way.

In the bath you have your pool of customers.

When you want more customers, your instinct is to turn on the marketing tap to top up the tub with new customers.

But there’s a problem

The problem is that the bath leaks. The bath of business always leaks, no matter how hard you try to stop it leaking.

Hang on, surely your bathtub isn’t leaking?

Research indicates that actually there’s a very good chance your business is leaking a lot of customers:

Why businesses lose customersSource: Statistics from Professor John Gattorna


Yikes! 68% of customers are lost because of ‘perceived indifference’!

Losing such a vast number of customers because of ‘perceived indifference’ is just silly, because it’s so preventable.

Imagine the difference it would make to your business if even half of this leak could be prevented! It would mean lower marketing costs, higher sales, and more profit.

The problem is that most companies prefer to ignore this leak. Rather than address the problem of ‘perceived indifference’ and fix it, it’s easier or more convenient to throw money at turning the tap on. This generally involves spending money on advertising. Yet the results of such advertising activity generally fall short of expectations – and it’s expensive.

And besides, there’s no point topping up the tub with new customers if the darn tub is leaking like a sieve!

Plus there’s another important marketing factoid you need to know:

It’s 6 or 7 times more expensive to find a new customer than to retain an existing customer

So it makes sense to work on retaining the existing customers that are already in your bathtub… But how do you get those existing customers to stick around?

Simply hoping customers will come back isn’t enough!

It’s too easy to think “hey, I did a great job, my customers will come back for sure”. Your customers have got more on their minds than just you, you know. Just like the rest of us, they’re juggling work commitments, family commitments, household chores, remembering to pick up the groceries for dinner tonight, walking the dog, going to yoga… etc.

And that’s just what’s going on in your customers’ worlds. At the same time you have competitors, direct and indirect, targeting your customers’ share-of-wallet.

So you have to make an active effort to stay at front-of-mind to stop your customer from leaking away

… The good news is that doing this is relatively easy and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg!

And that’s where The Leaky Bathtub Principle comes in, by helping you fix your customer leak.

The Leaky Bathtub Marketing Method gives you a logical sequence for your small business marketing campaigns

There’s actually a logical order to small business marketing campaigns, and that’s what The Leaky Bathtub Marketing Method is all about

The Leaky Bathtub Marketing Method is a step-by-step approach to growing a small business. Ideally, these 4 steps should be worked on in the following order:

Step 1: The bathtub ~ marketing foundations

Before you can have a bathtub, leaky or otherwise, you need, um, a bathtub. Otherwise you just have a soggy puddle!

In other words, you need some marketing foundations: that includes things like a brand/logo, a customer database, business cards, a website. All the nitty gritty things. They’re important, because when you have strong, solid foundations, you’re able to grow your business in a consistent and cost effective way. Without investing time and money in these foundations, it’ll be very difficult and also very expensive to grow your business, as it’ll be in an ad-hoc, scattergun way.

Step 2: Fixing the leak ~ customer retention

Once you’ve got your foundations in place, the next task is to fix the customer leak. That means doing things to keep in touch with your customers, so that out of sight doesn’t become out of mind.

Again, this might sound very simple or basic – yet it’s the most cost effective and most impactful marketing that you can do! It’s 7 times more expensive to find a new customer than to keep hold of an existing one, so the resources invested in customer retention campaigns is money very well spent indeed.

Indeed, if you do this really well, you’ll create a buzz around your business. And what that means is that in time, if you work on this consistently, you’ll get more customers through word of mouth… and without spending an arm and a leg on marketing! What’s not to love about that?!

Step 3: Turning on the hot tap ~ new customers (warm)

Of course, the new customer tap does need to be turned on at some point, because you have to get some customers into your bathtub in the first place!

The best place to start is by marketing to the suspects who are actually looking for your products and services, and there are specific ‘hot tap’ marketing techniques.

One of my favourite ‘hot tap’ techniques is optimising your website for search engines (known as SEO – Search Engine Optimisation). Done well, it’s an investment that’ll pay you back for many years to come. (I’ve done a lot of SEO website copywriting for my clients, and they’ve gotten superb results from it.)

Optional Step 4: Turning on the cold tap ~ new customers (frrrreezing cold!)

I’ve labelled this as ‘optional’ because selling your product or service ‘cold’ is a very difficult thing to do.

People are getting increasingly annoyed with getting sold to, and are countering it as best they can with ‘no junk mail’ signs on their letterboxes, and using technology to filter out TV ads. Most traditional advertising falls into the ‘cold’ category, and it’s a very expensive (and often very disappointing) way for most small businesses to try and gain new customers.

What’s more, you need quite a significant budget that you can use to test and measure different campaigns in order to try and make it work. It can be quite a gamble!

For this reason, in my consultancy work I very rarely recommend using the cold tap, and if you need hands-on help with it, you are best advised to look for an alternative supplier. Why? I don’t like taking on campaigns that are expensive and yield disappointing results.

What are the benefits of The Leaky Bathtub Marketing Method?

Here’s why The Leaky Bathtub Marketing Method makes sense for small business marketing:

1. It prevents you from having that horrible feeling of marketing overwhelm

Because there’s a sequential order to the marketing campaigns, you’ll know exactly what to focus on. I’d suggest you wear your ‘marketing blinkers’ so you only focus on that one thing, until it’s finished.

2. It saves you from having to re-do stuff

If you find marketing a chore, you’ll hate having to re-do stuff because you didn’t do it properly in the first place. The step-by-step approach means you do things in the right order… in short, I’m giving you the shortcuts to marketing success!

3. Maximum return on your marketing investment

The marketing campaigns are prioritised so that you can focus on the campaigns that’ll give you the biggest bang for your buck. You can be frugal with your marketing, but still get good results… I’ll show you how to do it.

Who can use The Leaky Bathtub Marketing Method?

The Leaky Bathtub Marketing Method works well for small businesses who offer a quality product or service and are willing to work consistently on their marketing. (After all, if there were some kind of ‘marketing magic wand’ we’d all be using it!)

The secrets behind marketing success are to:
(a) identify the right marketing tactics to work on;
(b) keep focused on these priority tactics;
(c) work on them consistently; and
(c) measure, tweak and refine.

Does it work for new, start-up businesses?

Yes, The Leaky Bathtub Marketing Method works for new businesses, as well as existing ones.

I’ve worked on a one-on-one marketing consulting basis with numerous start-ups who wanted to take the shortcuts, and they’ve been able to hit the ground running a lot faster.

Who developed The Leaky Bathtub Marketing Method?

Cornelia Luethi developed The Leaky Bathtub Principle to help stop your customers from leaking away.

Cornelia Luethi developed The Leaky Bathtub Principle to help stop your customers (and prospects) from leaking away.

Cornelia Luethi at The Leaky Bathtub developed The Leaky Bathtub Marketing Method.

It’s based on the marketing theory Cornelia learned in her Degree and Postgraduate studies, combined with her many years of experience in implementing, testing, and measuring marketing campaigns.

The idea behind The Leaky Bathtub Marketing Method is to explain complicated marketing-jargon in a way that’s memorable and easy to implement.

How you can implement The Leaky Bathtub Principle in your own small business

You can implement The Leaky Bathtub Principle with our help: small businesses in Northland and Auckland, New Zealand, can receive one-on-one marketing consulting and website help.

… Discover more about my marketing consulting and website help services – exclusively for small businesses in Northland and Auckland, New Zealand.

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