Winback Marketing Strategy

Winback Marketing Strategy

Winback Lost Customers

Did you know that there is a little known line in the Almanac that Marty McFly buys in Back To The Future. “A winback strategy that reactivates your lost customers back to life is the 3rd easiest way to create new income”. OK, it was in the little read marketing consultancy section of the almanac!


Anyway, in the story, Biff pinches this Almanac, goes back in time and gives it to his younger self. And he profits from the knowledge of what is going to happen in the future.


Couldn’t happen in real life, right? Well, sort of wrong.


Imagine if you could look back at the customers you have served previously, that for one reason or other, you have lost touch with. Now the chances are you lost the customer (a) because you didn’t follow up with them (the biggest reason for customer attrition) or (b) they moved and didn’t tell you or (c) they were dissatisfied and cleared off to a competitor.


It is a focus on acquiring new customers that typically leads organisations to take their eye of this very profitable ball. Which is a bit silly as it costs you a lot more to win a customer than it does to winback a customer. You really need a winback marketing strategy.


So what should you do?


First of all, audit your database.


This is a simple process which allows you to discover how many of the individuals on your database are no longer living or no longer living at their address. This determines the absolute limits to your winback marketing strategy.


However good you thought your relationship was with your customer, they just don’t always inform you of their new address. Life gets in the way.


But by using sophisticated data suppression products it is possible to trace the customer, potentially through several addresses, to where they live now.


So, how much will it cost?


Imagine you had 10,000 names and addresses to process.


Process Volume In Matched % Volume Out Estimated Cost Total
Input Processing 10,000 98% 9,800 £2 per ‘000 £20
Deceased 9,800 2% 9,604 £0.40 per match £78.40
Gone-aways 9,604 5% 9,123 £0.40 per match £192.40
Forward address* 9,123 10% 8,210* £0.40 per match £365.20


  • Good news, you reduce the risk of upsetting the bereaved by removing people on your database who have died;
  • Good news, you save money by not mailing people at a corrupted address or at an address they do not live at; and
  • Very good news, you add back 913 former customers at the address they live at now.


*Forward address matching enables you to suppress the old address and use the address someone lives at now. In the example above, your database finishes up as a cleansed 9,123 records.


The next step?


Talk to me about producing a simple reactivation campaign. More at


Having a winback strategy for lost customers or donors is still the 3rd easiest way to generate income, with active customers first and referrals second.


So investing in obtaining forward addresses makes marketing sense.


At their new address, they may have fewer communication competing for their attention. Being reminded of their relationship with your business, and how important they are to you, is a powerful emotion and often campaigns based on such reactivations achieve excellent returns and perform more like active customer responses than they do cold campaigns.

More maths, sorry!

Imagine you mailed a postcard to each of the 913 ‘reactivated’ lost customers and your active customer conversion rate was typically 10% with an average order value of £100.


Running a 3 postcard sequenced campaign for best results could look like this:


Process Volume In Estimated Cost Volume Out Total
Data Processing Assume ALL costs above set against campaign £656.00
Print & Postage 913 75p per postcard (3X) 2,739 £2,054.25


If the ‘lost customer’ campaign generated a conversion rate of 7%, or 64 customer buys, at an average order value of £70, then the campaign would (initially) return £4,480 versus a cost of £2,710.25, or a return on investment of 1.65.


The key thing is these ‘lost customers’ will act like your active customer base thereafter and offer further ROI, through lifetime value. You conduct a winback strategy for the “wonbacks” after all.


Biff had the right idea, however sleazy he was.


You can go back to the future too, with your lost customers. Call me on 01535 654930 and I’ll tap into your own database Almanac!

Marketing Consultancy Play

Marketing Consultancy Play

Small Business Marketing Consultancy – Dream Customers


ME: I offer small business marketing consultancy. Tell me about your business?

YOU: I want more business, but HAVEN’T GOT TIME to devote to marketing. I’m good at what I do and am working hard in the business that I created.

YOU: And, I’ve done okay so far! But, well, I know I can do a lot more with my business. After all the effort me and my team have put in I deserve a lot more success.

ME:  When you started your business, how did you decide on your marketing activity?

YOU: I took a look a good look around and based my advertising on what others in my industry were doing.

ME: So, is your advertising mainly about you and your products and services?

YOU: Yes. But it doesn’t seem to be working that well.

ME: Do you think you need something different to achieve success?

YOU: I reckon so, yes.

YOU: It seems all my prospects are tuned to the same radio station: WIFM (What’s in it for me)!

ME: That’s kind of understandable, wouldn’t you say?

YOU: I suppose so, but how is it going to help me ATTRACT MY DREAM CUSTOMERS?

ME: Well, let’s start by listening to that person over there…

(The light falls on an ideal customer)

IDEAL CUSTOMER: That business over there just does not understand me!

YOU: How so?

ME: My small business marketing consultancy experience suggests you should give her a chance and she’ll tell you.

IDEAL CUSTOMER: I’m PERFECT for them. I love all their stuff. But, their advertising is the same as everyone-else’s.

YOU: Now, just a minute…

ME: Please, just listen a while…

IDEAL CUSTOMER: I mean, why should I give them my business? They’ve NEVER GIVEN ME ANYTHING. How are they any different from dozens just like them in the area? Actually, if I’m honest, I don’t give them a second thought.

YOU: Oh.

IDEAL CUSTOMER: And when it comes to deciding who I’ll spend my money with, there is lot’s that will encourage me, but they are doing NONE OF THEM. I just don’t notice all that industry advertising any more. It’s all vanilla.

YOU: I just didn’t realise.

IDEAL CUSTOMER: If only they knew me, they’d be able to help me so much. They could help, but only talk about stuff that DOESN’T MATTER TO ME.

YOU: Is that all?

ME: Actually, no I think there’s more…

IDEAL CUSTOMER: The worst thing is THEY NEVER FOLLOW UP either. It’s like they’ve no interest in making me happy.

…to be continued.

If you were affected by any of the issues raised in the first Act of our play “Small Business Marketing Consultancy” please get in touch with Graham at Finely Fettled. He knows how the story goes and has plenty of ideas on the best scripts possible for your business!