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Smart Ways to Meet the Customer Acquisition Challenge


2020 is fast approaching and marketers will be reflecting on what went well, what didn’t go so well and what they could do better in the forthcoming year.

One thing’s for sure is that the business climate is becoming increasingly dynamic. And this is likely to be more evident with dare I say it, continued uncertainty around Brexit! So, to boost business growth, adopting smart ways to drive customer acquisition must be a top priority.

Without new customers a company will eventually grind to a halt. Businesses cannot survive or thrive by only focusing on their existing customers. Acquisition – or more precisely finding prospects and then converting them into purchasers - is crucial.

At the beginning of 2019 a Worldwide Business Research (WBR) survey of digital marketers found that 80% were under more pressure to meet acquisition and revenue targets than the previous year. This is a trend which is likely to continue.


Businesses face several hurdles in creating a successful acquisition campaign.

1. Capturing consumer’s attention

Consumers are exposed to around 5,000 marketing messages per day. So how can a brand get cut-through and achieve differentiation with its message in this landscape?

2. Creating a great first impression with your customers

First impressions count more than ever. Encouraging someone to try your product or service for the first time relies on effectively creating a positive perception. Marketing is key to achieving this. Messages need to be relevant and engaging to get potential customers to consider buying from you.

3. Advertising message bombardment

Ad bombardment is partly blamed for undermining public trust in advertising and being a catalyst for ad blocking and ad avoidance.

Public trust in advertising has halved from 50% favourable in the early 1990s to 25% in 2018, according to ad industry thinktank Credos.

4. GDPR and customer acquisition

The introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has resulted in depleted customer databases. And many businesses are uncertain about how to use individual's personal data. So, finding new customers in the current climate has become a key challenge for some businesses.

5. The rising cost of customer acquisition
Cost per acquisition (CPA) has been rising steadily on certain digital channels and platforms, as competition heats up and audiences become less receptive to messaging.

Mary Meeker, founder of Bond Capital, delivers an Internet Trends Report each year that receives widespread media attention. Her 2019 report states that the average CPA on digital channels is rising at an unsustainable level.

At the same time marketer budgets are under pressure in a tough economic climate.


Using a mix of marketing channels is essential because customers have many routes to purchase like going in store, online or engaging with more traditional channels such as mail and TV.

A campaign that drives both direct response and longer-term awareness is going to deliver the most meaningful results. A multi-media mix is proven to deliver both reach and reinforcement of a message, rather than a focus on a single channel.

Grant Shaw, Marketing Manager of the People’s Postcode Lottery, says of integrated, multi-media campaigns: “All our look and feel is consistent across channels as we understand customers use different touchpoints at different times. And certain pieces are more effective for different things. We have press inserts we have in the papers with a big message driving online; our DM packs will have more information around charitable work we do, explaining how the lottery works; TV is more around the winning feeling around when a player has won."


Marketers and agency planners have a plethora of channels and platforms at their disposal. The challenge is finding the appropriate channel mix and weighting to reach the right audience with the right message.

Potential customers have many possible touchpoints across the buying journey and marketers need to choose an effective mix of channels.

Nearly half of consumers – 48% – typically switch between digital and physical interactions with companies, even within a single interaction (Accenture Research 2016).

A campaign that drives both direct response and longer-term awareness is going to deliver the most meaningful results. A multi-media mix is proven to deliver both reach and reinforcement of a message, rather than a focus on a single channel.

Mail has a role to play in a multi-media campaign as it's a trusted medium, delivering a positive experience that can prompt actions.

• Research shows 87% of those polled rate messages delivered by mail as believable, compared to 48% by email.

• Over a 12-month period, 38% of consumers bought or ordered products or services after receiving mail (IPA Touchpoints 2019).


1. Partially Addressed Mail

A highly targeted and responsible way for businesses to acquire potential customers without requiring their personal data. Instead of sending a personalised mailing to an individual, businesses can mail small groups of around 15 households in a postcode. They can top up in areas where they have existing customers or find new postcode areas with similar profiles to existing customers. And by using relevant creative titles to engage householders such as ‘Pet Lover’ or ‘Kitchen Wiz’ you can really grab attention.

88% of Partially Address Mail is opened, read, filed or set aside for later (JICMAIL Q2 2018 – Q1 2019).

2. Direct Mail
This is addressed mail to an individual and is a way to build a strong one-to-one relationship between prospects and your brand.

The personalised nature of direct mails is one reason why it drives impressive engagement rates at 94%. Plus31% of direct mail drives commercial actions like going online and buying (JICMAIL Q1 2017 – Q2 2019).

3. Door drops
These are a cost-effective way to reach new customers without using personal data. Door drops can reach almost 30 million households across the UK or be targeted more locally to your area.

90% of campaigns which included door drops had an increase in new customers compared to 59% without (Royal Mail, Door drop Entries, DMA Awards Meta Analysis, 2012-2016).

To find out more about smart acquisition techniques, trends and the three ways mail can boost for acquisition strategy download your free guide.

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