Monday, September 27, 2010

What Am I Really Spending to Get New Customers and Clients?

Last week I shared a formula for determining the lifetime value of customers and clients (LTV). This is useful in helping us decide what we’re willing to invest to engage and keep our audience as repeat clients. Today I’m going to share another useful formula: Client/Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC). This formula will tell us what we’re actually investing, on average, to gain each new client.

Although there are methods of getting down to very specific numbers, it’s more important to have a good idea of our CAC than it is to have it down to the penny (at least to begin with). Determining our current CAC is accomplished by gathering information on all our marketing-related expenses for new customer/client acquisition over the past 12 months. Using a 12-month period is good for coming up with a true average. Leaving out expenses specifically directed at retention and loyalty campaigns is good since these are not part of initial acquisition.

Once we have our 12-month expenditure number, we need to find out how many new customers or clients we have acquired during that same 12-month period. Once that number is known, we simply divide our investment by the number of new clients we’ve gained. Here’s the formula:

$ Invested in Acquisition Marketing Activities (past 12 months)
/ # New Clients in the same period
= Client Acquisition Cost (CAC)

As an example, if we’ve invested $10,000 in new client acquisition marketing activities over the past 12 months, and we’ve gained 100 new clients, our Client Acquisition Cost (CAC) is $100.

In conducting this activity, many will find their CAC is far too high, calling for a need for more targeted marketing efforts. Others will find they can afford to invest more in each new client, allowing them to accelerate client acquisition rates.

Questions? Comments? Let’s hear them!

Here’s to your marketing success!

Bryan Waldon Pope

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