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  • Writer's pictureHarshal

Revisiting a 2D Simplification of B2C Acquisition Channels

Updated: Apr 27, 2023

A few years ago, I volunteered to help a health and wellness startup in increasing their sales. I choose to revisit this because I was approaching a similar problem at Twilio on how to provide the right information to different user segments at the right place at the right time to increase adoption of my product.

Back to revisiting... this B2C wellness startup had 40% of sales of their wellness products via a tie-up with a subscription box, and rest D2C. I looked at a few different approaches to increase their customer acquisition and found it interesting to arrange them across a 2x2.

2x2 axis showing possibilities across axis-1 of inbound-outbound and axis-2 of offline-virtual

I chose these 2x2 because as a D2C wellness brand, your consumers are looking at other wellness or nutritional products either offline or online, and are either being “sold to” via advertisements or find the item they want through their own initiative. So, it seemed valuable to plot the possibilities across axis-1 of inbound - outbound and axis-2 of offline - virtual.

2x2 axis graph showing steps to increse sale, evaluate acquisition, and group similar channels together

Looking at the graph, you can guess the steps required to reach here

  1. Research various ways of increasing sales for a D2C brand

  2. Evaluate each acquisition channel on a few axes, for example, virtual vs offline, inbound vs outbound, or targeted vs broadcast

  3. Group similar channels together to reduce number of variables to deal with

The above visual analysis helped think of various approaches but was not sufficient to take action. Revisiting this years-old discussion made me think of approaches to make the analysis actionable.

The below could be next steps from this initial analysis,

  1. Output metrics: Define and collect intermediate output metrics of the brand - how many people are aware of it in the target segment (AIDA model)? How many site visitors? How many carts abandoned? Given that this is a D2C brand, some acquisition channels provide us real-time online metrics, we can rely more on a funnel starting from ad or posts engagement leading through the funnel of landing page, shopping cart update, and online checkout.

  2. Tag the channels: Tie the acquisition channels in the visuals above to intermediate metrics, for example, presence in TV shows is expected to increase awareness or social media posts would increase visits to landing page(s).

  3. Input metrics: Since output metrics move not only by our efforts but also by external factors, also define and collect input metrics. Input metrics could include number of subscription box vendors we’ve reached out to for tie-up, number of social media posts on each platform, number of landing pages built for different ads, or page load times on the website.

  4. MECE (Mutually Exclusive, Collectively Exhaustive): Remember that this startup was acquiring customers mainly through a subscription box partnership, which makes it important to prove the efficacy of new channels without replacing the partnership. So we need to attribute purchases due to the subscription box business to ensure we are not attributing that to any other promotional channel.

With the above four steps, we would be able to define the bottlenecks and prioritize efforts accordingly to increase the intermediate metrics and eventually sales.

What are your thoughts on the acquisition channel visualization and steps to make it actionable?



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