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Aug 30, 2000
Interview

SelfCare.com Reduces Customer Acquisition Costs with Savvy Marketing Tactics

SUMMARY: No summary available.
SelfCare.com, the online arm of respected SelfCare catalog targets women 35+ with an income of at least 40k. In 4th quarter 1999 SelfCare.com spent roughly 70% of its marketing budget offline on spot TV, spot radio and print ads in women’s magazines. However Andrea Alfano, VP Marketing, decided to discontinue the majority of her offline advertising for 2000 “because we can’t prove an efficient acquisition cost.”

Her new goal: to lower her cost-per-new-customer.

Alfano started by making the most of the offline media SelfCare.com could use most cost efficiently. The regular SelfCare print catalog not only carries SelfCare.com’s URL prominently, it also contains a special page (usually page 2 or 3) 100% focused on the benefits of shopping online. These include access to 16,000 products --the catalog can only feature 300-400. SelfCare.com is also plugged on the SelfCare TV hour on ValueVision every Wednesday. (The show was possible because SelfCare investor NBC is also a shareholder in ValueVision.)

Alfano made her online marketing dollars stretch by starting a formal virtual coupon barter program with other major online players in her demographic such as Marthastewart.com, Art.com and Barnes&Noble.com. Clickable merchant offers are visible to users on the order confirmation page and through related email.

The program is "a logical way to extend an offer to our customers through a site that has a complementary product line," says Alfano. Fully aware of user privacy concerns, she adds that reciprocal advertisers are "not privy to any of our customer information."

Results -- SelfCare's research indicates that customers go back and forth between purchasing through its three main media channels, depending on where they are at the time. And the mix is working well. SelfCare's average online order is $40 plus, its average catalog order is $100 plus, and its average TV order is roughly $45 plus. It all balances out though. The average order on the catalog may be higher but SelfCare now gets more buyers on the Web.
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