• Does the customer look like—demographically, or firmagraphically in B-to-B— a “best customer”?
• If she is buying only one or a few items, could she be sold a greater variety of items?
• If you have only one contact name, or no contact name (not unusual in B-to-B), would reaching more people in the organization increase sales potential?
Similar logic can be applied to prospects. It is important first to define where profitable customers come from and what they look like before targeting markets because they are large or easy to reach.
When Should Contacts Be Made?
The best timing of offers often varies substantially between segments. To know when to test, the marketer should understand:
• How seasonal is the market by segment? Typically, seasonality takes on two components. Best customers tend to buy more regularly, and often less seasonally, than occasional customers or first-time buyers.
• How often do customers buy? The more often they buy, the more appropriate it is to contact them frequently. The less often they buy, the less appropriate it is to contact them too frequently.
• How soon do they buy again after a purchase? For most consumable goods and services, customers are more likely to return sooner rather than later. A quick follow-up offer generally is effective.
As a general rule, the better the customer, the less seasonal and more frequent the contact.
Where Are Best Customers Coming From?
Many marketers seem to believe that new best customers come in from the outside. However, this usually is not the case; they move up in the housefile. To devise a strategy to most effectively increase best customers, the marketer needs to know:
• Are best customers moving up in the database, or just dropping in from outside?
• Is enough emphasis placed on keeping customers, or are current customers being ignored while the organization chases prospects?