How to Keep Your Business Strong During Uncertain Times

By Keith Huntoon

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President & Co-Founder

After speaking with a ton of clients and agency partners, 2023 is shaping up to be a year focused on maximizing profitability over growth. Sure, net-new growth matters, but many of our clients are putting a greater emphasis on strengthening the foundation of their company. Fundamentally, for 2023 we can boil most of our client’s marketing goals into four areas: 

  1. Improve retention/reduce customer churn 
  2. Increase the Average Order Value (AOV) of each sale 
  3. Increase customer Lifetime Value (LTV) 
  4. Attract new customers faster at a lower Cost per Acquisition (CPA) 

Achieving these goals is easier said than done. This multi-part blog will help you calculate these metrics, track your progress and offer tips to improve your success rates as you move through 2023. Happy marketing!

The Foundation: Know Thy Customer (and how many you have!) 

How many customers do you have, how often do they buy and what’s their LTV? 

If a brand relies on Shopify or other e-commerce platforms for customer-level metrics, including customer count, these questions are not easy to answer.  

Typically, these platforms use an email address as the Customer Identifier. Using email as a Customer ID is a simple way to establish customer KPI’s quickly, but inaccurate. Why? Many consumers purchase from brands using multiple unique emails. This practice is encouraged when brands offer a one-time discount to “new” website visitors if they provide a unique email address. As a result, many brands add a ton of “new customers” acquired at a misleadingly low cost.  

When an individual purchases across unique emails, order information can’t be linked together. As a result, brands can’t establish how many unique customers they have. This has significant ramifications regarding the most vital KPIs needed to measure your business’ health.  Order Frequency, Lifetime Value (of the customer and the household), Channel Preference, Cross-Sell Analysis, and Cost per Acquisition can’t be measured when you don’t have an accurate read on your customers. When brands use multiple order entry platforms or channels, such as retail/POS, these challenges are compounded. 

Without a foundation of aggregating orders at a true individual level, all core KPI’s are suspect and marketing goals are harder to achieve. It is very difficult to consistently improve retention, AOV, and LTV if you don’t know who your customers are, what they buy, how often and what product they might be interested in next. 

What to do? 

Three Steps to Build an Understanding of Your Customers 

  1. Build an aggregated marketing database consisting of customer activity, emails, and orders. This should be based on “bill-to” and “ship-to” address data – from all sources, not just e-commerce. Update it frequently. 
  2. Keep your customer data updated and clean. If a consumer moves, make sure you link all past activity and orders to their new address. 
  3. Append high-quality, licensed data about your customers: age, marital status, income, etc to your customer. This will help you learn more about them and pave the way for effective marketing tactics in the near future. 

Once you understand your customers, who they are, what they buy, how often, etc., you can more easily improve customer retention, AOV, LTV, and acquire new customers more efficiently. 

Stay tuned for part two of this series, “How to Increase Customer Retention to Maximize Profitability.

About LiftEngine

Since 2005, LiftEngine's primary mission has been to help clients better understand and connect with their most responsive prospects and customers, online or offline. Our expertise is behind the marketing campaigns of 400+ clients.

Behind LiftEngine is LiftBase, our proprietary addressable consumer database. Comprised of 250 million US consumers, 140 million US households, and 1,000+ enhanced data elements, LiftBase powers our audience development services and industry-leading products, PortalLink and LaunchPad.

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Published on Jan. 24, 2023, Last Updated on Nov. 08, 2023