November 29, 2023

Email Marketing and AOV

If you don't think you play a role in how a customer purchases, think again.

Here's a common outcome.
  • All Other Channels
    • Items per Order = 2.0
    • Price per Item Purchased = $40.00.
    • AOV = 2.0 * $40.00 = $80.00.
  • Email Marketing
    • Items per Order = 2.3.
    • Price per Item Purchased = $33.00.
    • AOV = 2.3 * $33.00 =  $75.90.

It's a smaller AOV for email orders ... but how we get to the smaller AOV is more interesting! Those shopping via email marketing are buying more items at significant discounts.

In other words, the marketer either changes customer behavior or attracts a customer with different behavior.

I realize many of you view email marketing as a "throw away channel". I received an email from an e-commerce brand offering 60% off on Cyber Monday (Last Chance for 60% Off), then they offered 60% off on Tuesday ... and they then offered 70% off on Wednesday. So yeah, they were just lying. This brand views email marketing as a "throw away channel".

Email marketing metrics are the outcome of the tactics you use. If you constantly promote discounts via email marketing, it should not surprise you that email buyers purchase more items at lower prices, resulting in a lower AOV and presumably less profit.

November 28, 2023

Looking Ahead

Those in the audience that manage catalog-centric e-commerce models ... here's an interesting one for you.

  • "Brand X" has a 25% annual repurchase rate. Projecting to the start of 2024, "Brand X" will have 100,000 customers.
  • Brand "X" averaged 75,000 new/reactivated buyers over the past four years. In 2024, with it being extremely hard to acquire customers via print, the brand is forecasting 40,000 new/reactivated buyers.
If this trend continues ... we can see how many customers we'll have by year.
  • 2023 = 100,000 customers.
  • 2024 = 100,000*0.25 + 40,000 = 65,000 customers.
  • 2025 = 65,000*0.25 + 40,000 = 56,250 customers.
  • 2026 = 56,250*0.25 + 40,000 = 54,063 customers.
  • 2027 = 54,063*0.25 + 40,000 = 53,516 customers.
This is the forecast you need to show your paper rep, your printer, the USPS, your co-op lead. This is what they're doing. In the example above, they're cutting "Brand X" in half.

Yes, you have all these digital channels and offline non-print channels to use ... you've had them for a couple of decades for the most part. You are accountable. But your service providers are accountable as well. Show them what they're accountable for.

November 27, 2023

New Customer Acquisition Strategies ... The Story of 2024

I spend a disproportionate amount of time watching professional pickleball. An unhealthy amount to be fair.

The PPA (the most influential professional pickleball organization) aligned with Tennis Channel. Instead of publishing their content on YouTube (Google), they (the PPA), they now publish their content on their own website ( and on Amazon Prime ... specifically, on Prime's Freevee service.

How exactly does an e-commerce brand compete against a pickleball channel broadcast on the biggest e-commerce competitor in history, paired with non-stop informercials about products you can purchase on Amazon? No amount of "omnichannel strategy" competes against Amazon. None.

Back in 2016 I toured the Country (and Europe) telling the audience that customer acquisition tactics were going to be the most important thing they could ever focus on. It didn't go well.

Companies in attendance back in 2016 recently asked me how to acquire customers in 2024.

That's the story of the upcoming year. Some of you have spent the past decade preparing for this day.

if you haven't spent the time preparing for today, you can be very successful. There's time. There will be top-line contraction, obviously, but there is time. Get busy! Use 2024 as an R&D year.

November 26, 2023

Cyber Monday

If I have to hear one more quote from a trade journalist suggesting that you "must win Cyber Monday".


Do they ask you to win January 17?

Do they ask you to win February 9?

Do they ask you to win March 21?

Do they ask you to win April 3?

Do they ask you to win May 24?

Do they ask you to win June 19?

Do they ask you to win July 30?

Do they ask you to win August 20?

Do they ask you to win September 1?

Do they ask you to win October 14?

Do they ask you to win November 18?

Do they ask you to win December 13?

If the answer to those questions is "no", then stop adhering to their program. Stop listening. Stop reading.

Winning in Business is a 365 day endeavor.


Do not execute the tactics that create clicks for trade journalists. Execute the tactics that generate profit for your business.

My goodness.

Send me sales/profit calculations ( if you feel differently.

Storm Clouds

Starters:  Read this word salad of nothingness. My industry is about out of gas. The needle is below empty.

If Amazon represents 37% of e-commerce, is it any wonder that some e-commerce brands are struggling? Do you ever stop and think about that metric? It's a whopper! Kohl's says that e-commerce is dragging them down. No kidding. You turn your stores into Amazon returns centers and you wonder why your own customers won't use your website? You told them not to! You told them to buy on Amazon and then you'll clean up the mess when the customer isn't happy with (checks notes) Amazon. It's hard to think of a bigger Management blunder ... except the industry cheers this on as an example of Omnichannel brilliance. Hint - it is the opposite of brilliance.

Of course, none of the content in the paragraph above is as bad as what vendors are doing to catalogers, who are dealing with 10% to 20% annual inflation thanks to the efforts of paper folks (constrained supply), printers (constrained supply), and the USPS (gotta make a profit). All three are conspiring, in unison, to create a "spiral to singularity". What does that mean?

  • Pretend you send 500,000 catalogs.
  • With 10% to 20% annual inflation thanks to your vendors, you reduce circulation to 425,000.
  • Next year, with circulation reduced to 425,000, your vendors increase prices again, causing you to reduce circulation to 350,000.
  • Next year, with circulation reduced to 350,000, your vendors increase prices again, causing you to reduce circulation to 275,000.
  • At some point, you will mail one catalog that costs $500,000 to one productive customer. That's the spiral to singularity.
You don't need to be a wizard to see what Amazon is doing to e-commerce ... to see what vendors are doing to end cataloging (and yes - some of you will say it ended 13 years ago and that's a funny line and all that, but that doesn't mean it isn't a profitable discipline ... it just means you can tell a joke).

Storm Clouds are brewing.

2024 is the year you are required to find clever ways to find new customers ... ways that do not depend upon the forces tearing your business model apart.

November 23, 2023

Amazing Project Run Happening Right Now

I never expected 2023 to end this way. Here's a common comment the past two weeks, all from new clients.

  • "Would you be willing to run your Elite Program for us off-schedule? We're seeing something really odd in November performance and we want it diagnosed."

We have catalog brands being destroyed by third parties (USPS, Paper Brands, Printers) ... we have e-commerce brands being challenged by Amazon. If you fall into either category and want me to run my Elite Program code for you off-schedule, I'll do it. For new clients, this is an $1,800 request. Contact me ( and I'll fit the run in for you, ok?

November 21, 2023

Inflection Points: Thanksgiving

The next six days offer a bounty of Inflection Points.

You have discounting information in your database. You have prior Black Friday and Cyber Monday information in your database - undoubtedly you have 1/0 indicators in your database saying whether a customer purchased on both Black Friday and Cyber Monday, right?


So why in the name of Don Libey are you sending five "blasts" to all customers offering 50% off for Black Friday and Cyber Monday? Why wouldn't these "blasts" be targeted based on the 1/0 indicators in your database? Why do you want to convert a full-priced August buyer into a Black Friday buyer at 50% off?

Why do you want to convert any full-priced buyers to 50% off fake-holiday buyers?

The next 5-6 days are full of Inflection Points. Your database should have indicators that allow you to take action on these Inflection Points.


Email Marketing and AOV

If you don't think you play a role in how a customer purchases, think again. Here's a common outcome. All Other Channels Items per O...