Modern Catalog/Multichannel Customer Acquisition
Regardless of the economy, many larger catalog brands are experiencing multiyear decreases in catalog customer acquisition after factoring in matchback results.
Some businesses perform demographic overlays against the customer file. Not surprisingly, pure catalog customers (who receive catalogs and purchase via telephone) tend to be 55 or older. Multichannel catalog customers (who buy online after receiving catalogs) tend to be 45 to 55. Pure e-commerce buyers (who buy online due to some variant of online advertising) tend to be 30 to 45.
A Shifting Population
Of course, some 27-year-old customers buy from catalogs, and some 57-year-old customers purchase after reading reviews on blogs. But clearly your customers and prospects are going through a “diaspora” of sorts. A homogeneous customer audience is in the process of migrating to the combination of microchannels that works best for each individual.
For some customers, this means traditional multichannel catalog marketing still resonates. Many still buy online after receiving catalogs.
For other customers, however, the process of buying from a company for the first time is very different. If you search “buy shoes online,” you’ll notice that Zappos appears high in both organic and paid search results. You won’t have to go far to read the thoughts and opinions of thousands of customers, either. Based on all of this information, the customer feels comfortable enough to place a first order.
This means that customer acquisition marketing is markedly different in 2009 than it was in 2004 or 1999.
I have clients that execute robust, effective catalog customer acquisition programs. I have some who've been able to replace, name for name, every customer lost in catalog customer acquisition with new offline marketing programs. And I have some other clients who are just as effective at customer acquisition as are my catalog clients, but they don't use catalogs for customer acquisition activities.