In the old days of cataloging, a two-step acquisition was defined as a prospect converting to a customer after he or she responded to two different marketing efforts — thus taking two steps. Step one was to respond to a compelling advertisement to get a catalog. Step two was to respond to the catalog by placing an order.
With two-step acquisition, the broad advertising net usually was cast in a trade magazine, and prospective customers replied by phone. Tracking costs for such acquisitions was simple, as the choices for the first step seemed finite, and the conversion meant loyal, long-term customers.
In merely one step, it’s exceedingly difficult to specifically target the right prospect with the right offer at the right time. Engaging the prospective customer and determining what offer is right takes at least two steps. The intricacy isn’t found in the steps; it’s found in calculating the return on investment (ROI). Why? Too often for business-to-business (b-to-b) catalogers, the trick is to identify where the customer originated or, said differently, which “step two” was the purchasing motivator. The tougher question asks which combination of steps was most successful.
Following are nine tips for ignoring the status quo and potentially looking at two-step acquisitions differently.
1. If capturing source codes is elusive, outwit the responder. If responses are mailed in, use different P.O. boxes. Or try a static P.O. box number but different department numbers specific to the advertisement/source. The same methodology works for toll-free numbers. Indicate different extension numbers on the response device or a different toll-free number all together. If your Web site accepts responders (whether for more information or to place orders), use specific Web ad-dresses such as www.acme.com/vip. No matter the medium, track each source uniquely.
2. Always include a call to action. Too often aesthetically appealing or highly creative materials don’t include the call to action. Always, always, always, have a contact number and Web site address (or URL). I’m amazed at how many times I see a company’s name and logo missing from ads, collateral or other marketing materials. Again, track the ad (see Tip #1).