We at Belardi Wong appreciate that new customer acquisition was a significant challenge in 2023. There were fewer consumers buying, impacting customer file metrics for both new and existing customers. We know that acquisition is more important than ever this year.
Here are our top tips and considerations:
- Focus on a media mix that will drive the best overall ROAS! It can’t be all digital, and it can’t be all DM. These programs support each other, and effective integration is key. Make sure you have acquisition programs that support your entire marketing funnel. Branding can be as important as conversion, and repetition is important especially when acquiring new customers.
- Look forward, not back! The pandemic is over, and retail stores are thriving. Don’t always rely on historical data. Make sure you are adjusting profile groups for modeling that target who you are today and not what fueled your database yesterday. Depending on your business and your evolving merchandise mix, an emphasis on modeling recent best buyers might be better than last year’s seasonal buyers, as an example.
- Curious about how to get 6-10x ROAS on your next prospecting dollar? Test Swift, our triggered postcard program that can support your stand-alone DM mailings and re-target qualified browsers. This is a strong bottom-of-funnel tactic that will drive sales and profit!
- What’s old is new again! Geo and zip modeling has been around for years, and it’s critical when building retail and DTC sales. Remember those that shop across channels will be your best customers long-term. Don’t rely on co-op models alone to steer you in the right direction. Zip models are also extremely effective when leveraging large compiled databases for new mover files.
- Speaking of New Movers… After two years of a soft housing market, according to Forbes, home sales are expected to increase +13% in 2024. New Homeowners are some of the most valuable customers to acquire when driving sales to stores and marketing home-related products. Developing a dedicated new homeowner program with messaging that speaks directly to this audience can be most effective. And don’t forget once you acquire them, make sure you develop an ongoing promotional and messaging strategy around the products they are most apt to purchase over the next 24 months.
- Do I really need another blue sweater? Communicating a strong and cohesive brand story across channels is critical especially when attracting a new customer. Give them a reason to engage! Make sure they know who you are and that your USP is coming through loud and clear – both as a brand and about your product. Also, a good reminder for your buyers to help you protect wallet share.
- Depth may be for buyers, but range is for prospects! Make sure prospective customers get a sense of all you have to offer, and that you are depicting your full range of products! This is possible even in small formats. 12-panel gate folds have been amazing for cost-effectively acquiring new customers when a full-size catalog is not an option. Also, don’t forget to include both best products and order starters (products with more accessible price points). It’s important to be aspirational but you also want to make it easy to attract new customers.
- Payback! Don’t be so quick to cut your prospecting earlier in the year if it’s going to feed your housefile and allow you to drive additional sales in the second half. Acquiring customers during Holiday might drive a higher response rate initially, but customers acquired in Spring are often more valuable long-term. Be sure to look at LTV by season before outlining your prospecting calendar and determining your circulation levels.
- Product may be King but Creative is Queen! Online and offline you have just a moment to capture someone’s attention. DM creative needs to be exciting and ensure your piece aligns with your brand’s evolution and goals. Is it time for a refresh? New creative can help you increase sales three-fold and help re-introduce your brand to an entirely different audience.
- Ensure your feed-based search strategy is aligned to the products that acquire the best customers. It can be challenging to align your Performance Max strategy to merchandising goals, but it is critical to understand which products Google is featuring in feed-based ads. You can then build out specific campaigns with custom product feeds to ensure PMX is driving the best customers (e.g., if your business is driven by counter stools, you don’t want Google acquiring customers only with wall hooks).
- Creative testing in Meta is table stakes in 2024. As Meta moves to broader more algorithmic audience targeting, creative will allow you to test format, image types, and product types that are most successful in prospecting campaigns.