You honestly have three choices.
The first choice is to work your rear end off, being so darn creative that you acquire customers for free. This is hard work. And you can't just turn the switch on and go do it. You need a plan.
Since most of you operate with annual bonuses and the risk of being fired each year, you don't have the luxury to acquire customers for free. You have a budget. You feel like it is your job to spend money, and in exchange you get customers. This is how marketing has worked for a long time. Paid Search comes to mind. You pay per click. 98.5% of the customers bounce off of your site and return to Google ... and Google deposits your money while sending that very customer to another marketer who pays per click.
There's a third choice. You can pay somebody a percentage for access to customers. Like Amazon. An apparel brand might pay 17% of a transaction, hopefully less.
The first choice is what you should strive for.
The second choice must pay you back downstream, because you are likely to lose money up-front.
The third choice generally yields up-front profit. Downstream profit determines how effective this strategy is.
Segment all of your customers based on choice (1) (2) (3). Measure long-term downstream profit for each choice. The story of your brand will be revealed by this analysis. Remember, customers reveal themselves within a few weeks of being acquired. Their revelation determines how effective (1) (2) and (3) are.