Now, please take this infographic with a grain of salt ... there's a lot of theory and unsubstantiated numerical wizardry going on here ... click here for the article/chart.
The point isn't to argue or defend the chart ... the point is to get us to think about low-cost customer acquisition.
As catalogers, we cling to high-cost customer acquisition. We love to pay co-ops and Google money for new customers. It's easy. It's predictable. It scales ... we can hire one person to acquire new customers via co-ops and search ... one person!
A lot of what we're going to be asked to do in the future is like the old-school, two-step programs. Remember those? We'd advertise with a blow-in, allowing the customer to request a catalog ... this request got the customer on our customer file, where we'd market to the customer in the future.
Our future includes a lot of "two-step" activity ... using social/mobile as a "prospect list", eventually converting prospects into buyers, with luck. At first, this won't appear to "scale", it will seem like a lot of work for very little payback.
It sure seems like we're headed in that direction though, doesn't it?