Customer Acquisition Strategies and Tactics

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C H A P T E R

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Customer Acquisition Strategies and Tactics

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anaging customer acquisition consists of a variety of interrelated tasks and activities. Among the more important are pricing programs, advertising, alternative and direct marketing systems, sales promotions, and personal selling methods. Based on the solid foundation of developing a customer-oriented company, customer acquisition creates the lifeline of sales and return visits vital to a company’s long-term success. The product life cycle model remains an important tool for understanding how to acquire customers. The introduction, growth, maturity, and decline stages of the cycle necessitate careful responses and strategies from the marketing team. Customer acquisition provides a key response to the challenges of competition, especially in the maturity stage of the product life cycle. At every point, companies face the demands of keeping current customers balanced with using tactics to find new customers. In general, three basic forms of customer acquisition are 1. developing existing or new markets, 2. developing existing or new products, and 3. branding programs. y

Identifying Markets

Customers are acquired through the analysis of existing markets and new markets. New customers can be located in existing markets. Some may be found through the efforts to increase brand switching. Others can be identified when new needs arise as situations change, such as when television programming shifted from analog to digital signals. Further, a product may be featured as being different and better, which is the product differentiation approach to attracting new customers in existing markets.

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CASES IN MARKETING MANAGEMENT

Finding new markets, the second approach to identifying markets, consists of geographic expansion into domestic markets and international markets. When a company does not operate nationally, domestic markets are assessed to see which will be the most viable for entry. International markets require careful study prior to setting up any kind of exporting arrangement. y

Developing Products

Acquisition of new customers often results from the implementation of a product strategy. Products attract new customers by offering new features, eliminating old problems, and solving different needs. Products will be matched with viable market segments. Product development is a marketing strategy in which new goods and services are developed and then added to current lines. These are marketed to existing customers. Product diversification occurs when new goods and services are created for new market segments not currently served by the company. Unmet needs, cultural trends, and other developments lead to development and diversification strategies. Recent cultural trends associated with diet have led to new food products, while the desire for connectivity has been associated with the creation of new electronic devices. One key to developing products is following through with a well-designed plan of implementation that brings the whole company into the process. Product improvements solve specific problems. Many products have been made smaller, faster, more efficient, and more user-friendly over the years. Product improvements may help a firm capture new customers and acquire competitors’ customers when it appears the company is selling a “better mousetrap.” Product line extensions allow the marketing team to meet more specific consumer needs. A customer with blood pressure problems is likely to try a no- or low-sodium food product. Someone with diabetes will watch for unsweetened or artificially sweetened products. y

Branding

A strong brand can contribute to customer acquisition. Major brands enjoy the benefit of being the first considered for new shoppers or those in new situations. Gillette may be the first brand a new shaver will try. Holiday Inn benefits from a well-known brand name that might attract international...
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