More prospects equal more profits, right? Not necessarily. But surprisingly, companies in every industry (including cable and telecom) routinely burn acquisition dollars as if it is. The reality is that only more qualified prospects can lead to more profitable campaigns, making acquisitions a clear case of quality besting quantity. But why?
No substitute for quality
Engaging unqualified prospects is an unprofitable exercise requiring time and resources that are better spent on those who are ready, willing and able to buy from you. Benefits of an effective acquisition strategy include greater:
- Resource efficiency—less time, money and energy wasted on no-payback prospects
- Brand loyalty and higher lifetime value—by accurately matching consumers to products they relate to and desire
- Profitability and less bad debt—this one is probably obvious
Fishing where the (best) fish are
So how should a profit-minded telecom or cable company identify highly qualified prospects and invite them into the fold? Using a credit-score threshold, where anyone possessing the target score receives an offer, is one method. The benefit is simplicity. One disadvantage is unnecessary risk, as credit score is just one factor reflecting an individual’s creditworthiness.
Another possibility is analyzing your best customers’ profiles or most profitable underwriting policies and integrating profit-building criteria into your campaign. This takes a little more effort but the payback potential is higher.
Tapping into available sources
Many companies find public records a rich source of decisioning data. Others have discovered that adding consumer-credit information to their acquisition formula not only improves prospect quality, it also reduces on-boarding costs. Derogatory payment information, revolving debt levels or unacceptable debt-to-income ratios will all surface in the process, informing and improving your credit management decisions. (Note: using credit data to assess risk requires you to make a firm offer of credit, according to FCRA guidelines.)
You’ll do a lot of prospecting in 2011, so remember: when it comes to acquiring new customers, more isn’t better. Better is better. And using reliable, high-quality data is one way to ensure the impact and return of every marketing dollar.