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Advertisers' dilemma leads to fundamental question

Kevin Hillstrom, a data mining consultant, says he’s getting two different requests from customers—and both of them point to an existential question: Why does this business exist?

Business A contacts me, wanting help retaining customers. This is an online brand that is in Acquisition Mode. The days of easy Google gravy have come to an end. Management wants to “de-tether” from Google, and wants to know how the offline folks spend money in a cost-effective manner to keep customers.

Business B contacts me, wanting to trim offline marketing expense. This is a traditional catalog brand that is in Hybrid Mode. The days of easy co-op customer acquisition have come to an end. Management wants to know how to stop spending money in offline marketing, and wants to know how the online brands keep customers in a cost-effective manner.

The fundamental question, Hillstrom writes is this: If I were customer “who had not purchased from my own business in two years, is there anything I could do to get me (the customer) to purchase again that protects my profit and loss statement?” If the answer is no, “business becomes very interesting.”

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