June 20, 2018

Profit per New Customer

It's common for folks to measure cost per new customer.
  • Total Marketing Cost = $10,000.
  • Total New Customers = 130.
  • Cost per New Customer = 10,000 / 30 = $76.92.
It's less common for folks to measure profit per new customer.
  • Total Marketing Cost = $10,000.
  • Total New Customers = 130.
  • Average Order Value = $100.
  • Profit Factor = 40%.
  • Profit = 130*100*0.40 - 10,000 = ($4,800).
  • Profit Per New Customer = ($4,800) / 130 = ($36.92).
In our example, you had to give up $36.92 of hard-earned company profit in order to acquire each of 130 new customers.

Is it worth it to give up $36.92 of hard-earned profit to acquire a customer?

It depends.

If the customer pays you back $65.00 profit in the first year on the file, you absolutely want to give up the profit, because you will make more profit in the next year, with the net of the relationship being a profit increase.

If the customer pays you back $11.00 profit in the first year on the file, you have problems, don't you?

You can't possibly know whether a cost per new customer of $76.92 is good or bad. You just know that the figure looks expensive.

You know all you need to know if you have profit per new customer coupled with lifetime value.

Show of hands ... how many of you measure profit per new customer and combine it with lifetime value to know which tactics you need to employ to be successful?

June 18, 2018

Pay Attention To Winning New Item Trends

Here's something I see all the time.

2017 New Items.
  • 4 Winners.
  • 12 Contenders.
  • 403 Others.
  • Total Demand = $15,000,0000.
2016 New Items.
  • 6 Winners.
  • 10 Contenders.
  • 388 Others.
  • Total Demand = $15,700,000.
2015 New Items
  • 8 Winners.
  • 18 Contenders.
  • 357 Others.
  • Total Demand = $17,300,000.
You probably create these tables in your sleep, #amirite?

As a marketer, this level of merchandise performance harms your marketing activities.

And so darn often, the marketing team gets blamed for this stuff.

Pay attention to winning new item trends. Is your merchandising team launching your business into the stratosphere (which happens often), or is your merchandising team slowly killing your business (which also happens ... often)?

June 17, 2018

How Rebuy Rates Are Impacted By Price

Look at annual rebuy rates by items purchased last year and average price per item purchased.


As prices increase, the probability of repurchase decreases, albeit marginally.

As the number of items purchased increase, the probability of repurchase increases.

Look at some of the key relationships.
  • 1 item at $100 = 14.8% rebuy rate.
  • 2 items at $50 = 17.7% rebuy rate.
  • 4 items at $25 = 22.1% rebuy rate.
This is a repeated theme across project work. If you have a choice, you want a customer to buy four low-priced items instead of one high-price item. This gives you file momentum, it helps grow your customer file over time (which protects the health of your business).


June 14, 2018

Supper Clubs

Wisconsin (especially the northern half of Wisconsin) is home to a proud tradition ... the Supper Club (buy a book about Wisconsin Supper Clubs on Amazon ... click here).

The process is simple. The Supper Club opens between 4:00pm and 4:30pm. You arrive, you sit down at the bar and you order a drink ... typically an Old Fashioned or something comparable. You put your name in, and then somebody typically walks over and takes your order.

When your salad is ready, somebody whisks you away from the bar and to your table, where your salad awaits. But wait, there's more! You'll be offered a relish tray, buns, crackers, and up to 65 pads of ice-cold butter to use on the four buns.

Then your meal arrives ... a steak or walleye (Central Wisconsin) or perch (Eastern Wisconsin) or whitefish (Door County).









After dinner you can relax by purchasing a grasshopper or a pink squirrel.


Then, you stagger back to your car, call your cardiologist, and schedule bypass surgery.

There used to be thousands of Supper Clubs all across Wisconsin. In the past few years, the quantity decreased to maybe three hundred or four hundred. And when you look at who is eating in a Supper Club, you won't find #millennials. By and large, it's an over-55 audience who visit because of tradition and personal relationships.

Sound familiar?

This is what happened to the catalog industry.

If you met with a Supper Club Proprietor, you'll hear a lot of interesting excuses. One told me that he's gonna close for six months because there isn't enough business to be had. He told me that "my patrons have a lot of ideas to increase traffic, but I'm not gonna listen to them, I'd rather just close."

Sound familiar?

You could tell the Proprietor to open for lunch or breakfast ... and you'd be told that this is a "Supper Club, we only serve Supper".

You could tell the Proprietor to create a family-friendly environment instead of the adult-caloric crowd ... and you'd be told that the whole purpose of a Supper Club is to cater to the adult-caloric crowd.

You could tell the Proprietor that a meal with 3,493 calories might be just a bit overboard for just $13.95 ... and you'd be told that the whole purpose of a Supper Club is to enjoy 3,493 calories.

You could tell the Proprietor that a vegan menu might bring in more customers ... and you'd be told that the tradition of a Supper Club is in lake-caught fish and fatty steaks.

Sound familiar?

Industries live and die by adapting to changing times. 

I worked with a company that had a 90% organic percentage ... if you took away the catalog, 90% of the sales would still exist and the company would practically print 20% pre-tax profit rates. The company would be so wildly successful that it couldn't help itself but throw money at employees and the ownership team. What do you think happened?
  1. Nobody believed the results of the year-long test, but folks loved to talk about how they were "data-driven".
  2. Catalog-centric Executives said "but what would I do for a job if the catalog didn't exist" even though every online process (which were responsible for driving 90% of the sales) wouldn't change one bit. One bit!! They might even improve without the handicap of a catalog to reduce flexibility.
  3. Catalog vendors lost their ever-loving minds. They told the Executive Team to "not believe the results of the test" and sold the Executive Team on the merits of a sound catalog program, citing the fact that catalogs "stood out in a crowded online marketplace", whatever the heck that means. Paper reps locked the company into an onerous annual contract. Printers offered myriad technologies to make the catalog stand out. Co-ops demanded deeper prospecting levels to "tickle the buying bone of today's fickle consumer", whatever the heck that means. Vendors rushed to protect "their" business, not the business of the catalog brand.
Sound familiar?

Don't become a "Supper Club". Evolve. Change. Do something!

Or, ride it out and take market share from dying catalogers. That works, too. For awhile.

June 13, 2018

Impact of Price Purchase History on Future Performance

Here's a table ... customers are segmented based on their average historical price point. Then I measure in the next year the percentage of demand they spend by price point band. Tell me what you observe.
What do customers who buy from very cheap price points do in the next year?
  • 44.3% of future demand is from price points >= $50.
What do customers who buy from very expensive price points do in the next year?
  • 79.9% of future demand is from price points >= $50.
In my project work, "brands" are constantly trying to push customers into new price point bands.

Too often, customers don't want to move into new price point bands. The example above is actually a "good" outcome ... the disparity isn't huge, is it? But it is there. If the merchandising team tries to introduce new merchandise in expensive price points, then Management has to be ready to accept the potential of a sales decline.





June 11, 2018

Digital Index

What is your "digital index"?

How do I compute the "digital index"?
  • Step 1 = Sum all non-digital advertising spent during the past twelve months.
  • Step 2 = Sum all digital advertising spend in the past twelve months.
  • Step 3 = (Step 1) / (Step 2).
Here's an example.
  • Annual Catalog Spend = $10,000,000.
  • Annual TV/Radio/Non-Digital/Non-Print Spend = $3,000,000.
  • Annual Digital Spend = $4,000,000.
  • Digital Index = ($10,000,000 + $3,000,000) / ($4,000,000).
  • Digital Index = 3.25.
If your digital index is close to zero, you are a strong digital brand.

If your digital index is close to one, you are a balanced brand.

If your digital index is > 2, you are an old-school brand.

The value of the index isn't good/bad/otherwise ... it just helps you understand where you stand. I keep hearing from folks who think that having a website and mobile presence and being on Instagram means that their brand is "digital" ... and then their Digital Index is 4.93.

Calculate your Digital Index.

What does your score tell you about your brand?

June 10, 2018

One More Example: Duluth Trading Company

I know, I know, the New England portion of my audience doesn't like it when I talk about Duluth Trading Company.

Why do I talk about Duluth Trading Company?

Here's their won-lost record over the past four years.

  • 2017 = 12-4.
  • 2016 = 12-4.
  • 2015 = 13-3.
  • 2014 = 14-2.
They're as good as the New England Patriots.

That's why I talk about Duluth Trading Company.

Sales have nearly tripled in just four years ... a compound 30% annual growth rate.

But can you see trouble brewing on the horizon?
  • The rate of performance gains is decelerating.
So maybe in 2-3 years you'll be able to point to an 8-8 Duluth Trading Company season and say "see, they stink".

Until then?

Profit per New Customer

It's common for folks to measure cost per new customer. Total Marketing Cost = $10,000. Total New Customers = 130. Cost per New C...