The Four Pillars of Customer Acquisition Strategy
Customer acquisition refers to the process of gaining new customers. The management piece of this equation relates to the efficiency of this process and the value-added or return on investment (ROI) that each customer brings. The cost of obtaining new customers is an important metric used by companies to evaluate how much profit each new customer brings to the business. Customer acquisition management (CAM) refers to a company’s procedures, systems, and tools for managing prospective customers across all parts of the business including sales, marketing, customer service and operations to ensure maximum profitability.
Having a viable CAM means you must first have a good strategy for customer acquisition. This strategy will outline your vision and the type of customers you hope to attract. It will also define the kind of message you want to deliver to that customer, and finally, it will provide validation that your process is maximizing ROI. Here are the four pillars I believe lead to a successful customer acquisition strategy: vision, target, messaging and profitability.
A good vision should be the starting point of any successful customer acquisition strategy. What are your end goals? What is it you hope to achieve? Let’s consider a couple of examples; perhaps you own a fast-food restaurant in a medium-sized city somewhere in the Midwest. The vision you have for your establishment might be something along the lines of “being the top-selling burger restaurant” in your town or even “to be the most profitable fast-food establishment” in your community. Don’t just stop with that vision, take it deeper and see what that looks like in the terms of revenue, support systems and profitability.
The following essential part of your strategy is the target. Who is your ideal customer? The answer to this question will, of course, vary widely from industry to industry. For a consumer products company, the answer might be very broad. On the other hand, a company that specializes in customized RVs or specialized camping equipment will have a much narrower definition of the type of customer they are seeking. Who are the people that buy your products and services? How can your business be the answer to their needs? What are their likes and dislikes, their hobbies and what other products and services are they buying? These are the types of questions you should consider asking yourself as you develop your CAM strategy. For marketing to your potential customer, defining who that is can determine the type of platforms you might use to reach them.
The next step in your process is to formulate the message you want to be delivered to these targeted customers and what tools will best reach that target audience. Maybe you have a dermatology practice and wish to promote a new skin care regimen. The message might be as simple as “our product will make you look and feel younger.” Or a tool distributor might emphasize their products’ reliability and that they have a money-back guarantee.
A message aimed at wealthy retirees will look very different from those targeted at blue-collar construction workers. Having identified your target audience, spend a moment putting yourself in their shoes and asking your current customers or other industry leaders about their significant issues. Is it cost, reliability, ease of use or how the product or service makes you look and feel? You should do your homework and consider what problems your customers are having so that the message will resonate with that audience.
Profitability is, of course, the critical goal on which all others depend. You don’t want to add just any customer. You want quality customers for your business. I find that too many businesses focus on gaining more revenue without even knowing if it is profitable. A struggling company can easily “sell” its way out of business if they don’t know if they are making a profit.
Customer acquisition management is not just one action, it is many: listening, talking and sharing information that is coming in from your sales teams, online activities and responses to marketing campaigns. Some might say it is like reading tea leaves in a cup. Others consider it a standard part of doing business. At the end of the day, it takes a strategy that is well executed to make it all worth the effort and ensure management success.