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18 The PCB Magazine • December 2016 How good is your process for finding and capturing new customers? In the world of elec- tronics, this challenge is often a key ingredient to business success. It is estimated that the av- erage life cycle of an electronic product is be- tween four and five years. How long have you owned your current cellphone? This relentless churn of new products has a profound effect on companies producing the components (like printed circuits, connectors, displays, etc.) re- quired to build the myriad of today's high tech electronic products. With this short product life cycle, simple math suggests manufacturing companies might expect about 20–25% of the part numbers they produce to become members of the e-waste pile in any given year. Which is another way of saying, "Time to find some new customers!" The "Customer Acquisition" process can be thought of as consisting of three major seg- ments: collection, selection and execution. While these sub-divisions should be considered as intimately interrelated, examining them as separate disciplines can be enlightening. Collection This broadly describes the marketing pro- cess. How are new customer opportunities dis- covered? Word of mouth is one way, and as start-up companies become established it is a critical element. A positive customer experi- ence often multiplies goodwill as new genera- tion products are developed and word is spread across an industry. The names and faces of buy- ers and engineers frequently show up within differing companies in the same industry so a Customer Acquisition FEATURE COLUMN: ALL ABOUT FLEX by Dave Becker ALL FLEX FLEXIBLE CIRCUITS LLC

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