Chuck Leblo is the founder and chief strategist at Interact One. His focus is on strategy, critical thinking and problem solving.
Customer acquisition refers to the process of acquiring new customers. The management part of this equation relates to the efficiency of this process and the added value or return on investment (ROI) that each customer delivers. The cost of acquiring new customers is an important metric used by companies to evaluate how much profit each new customer brings to the company. Customer Acquisition Management (CAM) refers to a company’s procedures, systems, and tools for managing prospects in all areas of the business, including sales, marketing, customer service, and operations to ensure maximum profitability.
Having a viable CAM means you need to have a good customer acquisition strategy first. This strategy outlines your vision and the type of customers you hope to attract. It also defines the kind of message you want to deliver to that customer, and finally, it will validate that your process is maximizing ROI. These are the four pillars that I believe lead to a successful customer acquisition strategy: vision, purpose, messaging and profitability.
A good vision should be the foundation of any successful customer acquisition strategy. What are your end goals? What do you hope to achieve? Let’s look at a few examples; maybe you have a fast food restaurant in a mid-sized city somewhere in the Midwest. The vision you have for your establishment could be something along the lines of “being the best selling burger restaurant” in your city or even “being the most profitable fast food restaurant” in your community. Don’t just stop with that vision, go deeper and see what that looks like in terms of revenue, support systems and profitability.
The next essential part of your strategy is the goal. 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 can be very broad. On the other hand, a company that specializes in custom RVs or specialized camping equipment will have a much narrower definition of the type of customer they are looking for. Who are the people who buy your products and services? How can your company be the answer to their needs? What are their likes and dislikes, their hobbies, and what other products and services do they buy? These are the kinds of questions you should be asking yourself when developing your CAM strategy. For marketing to your potential customer, determining who that is can determine the type of platform you could use to reach them.
The next step in your process is to formulate the message you want to convey to these target customers and which tools will best reach that target audience. Perhaps you run a dermatology practice and want to promote a new skincare regimen. The message could be as simple as “our product will make you look and feel younger.” Or a tool distributor may emphasize the reliability of their products and that they have a money-back guarantee.
A message aimed at wealthy retirees will look very different from that aimed at construction workers. Once you’ve identified your target audience, put yourself in their shoes for a moment and ask your current customers or other industry leaders about their key issues. Is it the cost, reliability, ease of use or how the product or service makes you look and feel? You need to do your homework and consider what issues your customers are having so that the message will resonate with that audience.
In many cases, you have to target your potential customers based on their likes that are not even related to your products and services. An article written for a new parent can easily refer to your insurance company in an organic way.
Profitability is, of course, the critical goal on which all others depend. You don’t just want to add a customer. You want quality customers for your business. I find that too many companies focus on getting more revenue without even knowing if it is profitable. A struggling company can easily “sell” its bankruptcy if it doesn’t know if it’s making a profit.
Customer acquisition management isn’t just one action, it’s many: listening, talking and sharing information coming in from your sales teams, online activities and responses to marketing campaigns. Some may say it’s like reading tea leaves in a cup. Others consider it a standard part of doing business. Ultimately, it takes a strategy that is executed well to make it all worthwhile and ensure management success.