Series 2, Part 12: One Marketing Campaign Pool Retailers Must Not Ignore

Given that our research shows that new customer defection can occur in the first 90 days, there is one direct marketing campaign pool retailers cannot ignore.  It is called the welcome campaign. Creating interaction with the customer beyond the initial visit to the store is critical. The welcome campaign is a key part of every successful new customer onboarding process. As you probably remember, the mantra of direct marketing is “get the right message to the right person at the right time.” But where do you begin?

Begin at the beginning

The best time to focus on a new customer welcome campaign is during the first purchase. Yes that’s right! Start working to retain new customers face-to-face during their initial purchase. The earlier in the customer life cycle that you execute a customer retention initiative, the more effective and higher the overall return.  So think of the welcome campaign as the beginning of a successful customer retention process. It starts with the first sale and continues throughout the entire customer lifecycle.

Remember this “no-welcome campaign” experience?

Remember the pool owner experience imagined in Part 10? Here's a recap: Imagine you bought a house with a swimming pool and owned it for two years. You purchase your pool chemicals from Home Depot, which worked just fine until you experienced an algae problem. Getting no help from Home Depot, you went to a specialty pool store near where you live, hypothetically called Family Pools. 

The sales person at Family Pools was a seasonal temp but managed to read the labels with you and help select a product that worked. But you were left with the impression that you knew more than the sales person, so after your algae cleared, you returned to buying from Home Depot. And with no timely and relevant communications from Family Pools, you found no motivation to return. 

Imagine this:

You have the same experience until check out, when the sales person asks for your address and says, “I see you haven’t purchased from us before. Welcome to Family Pools where we care about helping our customers get results. We’d like to follow up by phone or email to make sure our recommendation works for you. 

“We will also send you a new customer welcome discount coupon for your next purchase. Can I go ahead and get your information? I am interested in understanding why you have come to us rather than your previous retailer. That will help us serve you better.” 

Under these circumstances, you are happy to provide the information. (See the previous post for more on this.). Then you receive a follow-up call in a few days checking on your pool, which is now algae-free. A few days later you receive an email from the store manager addressing you by name. It has a discount coupon and more personalization. You realize that you had a great experience shopping in that store, and you plan to return. 

The multi-touch welcome campaign

Welcome campaigns serve the useful purpose of introducing new customers to a company’s value proposition: who the company is, what the company does and what’s in it for the customer. Welcoming always makes sense because the sooner customers are contacted with a relevant message, the more likely they are to make a second purchase. A welcome campaign is made up of the initial contact plus a short series of email, direct mail or even phone messages triggered when a new customer enters your point-of-sale database. 

Understanding what offer will be relevant and customizing the auto-response email is critical. Remember the mantra — marketers need to send the right offer to the right customer at the right time. We are currently working with clients to help them better understand their new customers and craft a response that includes a tailored follow-on offer. Stay tuned to learn more in future articles. 

Your turn

What kind of welcome campaign does your company have? Is it working? How do you track and measure it? What are the multiple touch points? What ideas do you have that you have not implemented? What is getting in the way? What kind of help could you use?

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