August 2006 - After the Phone Rings

Strategies for the 2nd Sale

By Shari Altman

As a DRTV or DR radio marketer, there is so much effort to getting a campaign on-air that it’s easy to focus 100 percent of your energies on acquiring customers. In particular, infomercial marketers investing large sums for production and media can have “tunnel vision” on getting prospects to respond. But few products have enough profit margins or get enough response to make sufficient profit from that initial sale (even with upsells) to sustain a company that doesn’t plan for additional sales to those newly acquired customers.

Strategizing about a 2nd sale from your newly acquired customer should happen before you make that 1st sale. There are many reasons for this. Most importantly, you can manage the process to optimize results-converting one-time buyers into two-time and multi-buyers. Planning your strategy for 2nd and subsequent sales upfront also means you won’t lose precious time between your initial customer acquisition sale and that 2nd sale.

There are two basic strategies to consider in planning your 2nd sale-continuity and catalog.

A continuity strategy means the 1st sale has a built-in 2nd sale. In other words, the customer making his or her first purchase from you agrees at the time of his or her initial purchase to receive a 2nd and subsequent shipments, unless that customer takes action to cancel after receiving that initial shipment. Continuity marketing has many marketing and operational challenges, but the biggest challenge is strategic: Do you have a product where continuity is even a viable strategy? This most often means having a product that is somehow consumed or otherwise used up. If your front-end product is a hard good, most likely it will be challenging at best and impossible at worst to identify a continuity strategy that fits well enough to be part of the initial front-end sale.

A catalog strategy has its own challenges. With catalogs, not only do you need a marketing strategy but you also need a merchandising strategy. With a catalog strategy for your 2nd sale, the needs of your front-end buyers must be readily defined and similar. In other words, are most of your front-end buyers boaters? Cooks? Golfers? If you can identify front-end buyers with similar interests, then identifying your merchandising strategy will be infinitely easier as your buyer/merchant knows who they are finding desirable products for.

Each strategy will require different staffing skills, different reporting and analysis, different fulfillment efforts and so on. It’s important to think through all the operational, staffing and reporting concerns as you formulate your strategy to ensure you have the resources needed for effective execution.

Continuity and catalog strategies can be combined effectively to bring even more dollars to the bottom line. But it’s best to focus on one strategy at a time. Focus on the strategy that suits your product line best first, and then layer the other strategy on once you have the first one up and running effectively.

Shari Altman is president of Altman Dedicated Direct, a direct response marketing consultancy based in Rural Hall, N.C. She can be reached at (336) 969-9538, or via e-mail at [email protected].


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