Shawn Friel, Head of Growth
December 6, 2023

Your customer acquisition strategy should be as unique as your customers are

What happens when you’re tasked with marketing a new tech company to an aging audience? In our case, learning as much about our consumers as possible, then experimenting, analyzing, and iterating.

Last year, Gitwit founded a venture studio called 19days. The approach was simple: find common challenges facing businesses and introduce technology to help solve them. Most often, we find a sweet spot in old-school industries rife with middlemen and fax machines.

But building innovative digital products is only half the battle. Downstream, we’re also innovating on go-to-market and consumer acquisition strategies that begin with a relentless focus on the customer.

For our most recent 19days venture, Prelude, we’ve developed a modern funeral pre-planning application designed to help funeral homes serve their communities and drive profitability. Funeral homes that use Prelude also receive complimentary marketing services to help drive consumers to book funeral pre-planning appointments.

Despite growing interest in pre-planning in recent years, marketing for these services has, ahem, not aged well. Customer acquisition is still driven largely by door-to-door salesmen, commission-driven insurance agents, and even billboards.

As we began architecting our approach to customer acquisition, we sought to keep personal relationships at the fore, while leveraging digital channels to help scale our efforts at low cost. We knew in order to be successful, the best place to start was to learn about the customer and why they purchase.

A Discovery-Led Go-To-Market Strategy

At Gitwit, every marketing strategy begins with in-depth discovery about our target audience — their pain points, their motivations for buying, how they consume media — to craft messaging that will resonate and inform where, how, and when we reach our target segments. 

From there, we can make informed decisions about channels, content, and measurement. The process looks something like this: 

This process may seem obvious, but we often find companies don’t spend enough effort on — or skip altogether — the process of defining their target segments and crafting strategic messaging. Instead, they jump right into channel plans, e.g. they “know” they need to spend on paid search or run ads on YouTube.

But this upfront work is crucial. In our discovery process for Prelude, we interviewed over 50 industry experts and target consumers and researched the competitive landscape. A few key insights emerged:

  • Customers seeking pre-planning services often have an inciting moment: a stressful experience planning a loved one’s funeral
  • Much of the marketing content and messaging for pre-planning is uniform and bland, often focused on financial aspects
  • The funeral planning sales cycle can be lengthy, often taking months and requiring ongoing education from a trusted advisor about the benefits of pre-planning

Using these insights, we developed foundational message themes to communicate across Prelude’s marketing assets:

Experiment, Analyze, and Iterate 

Armed with insights from discovery, we selected channels. While many competitors rely on legacy media and direct sales to target older demographics, we wanted to leverage recent trends in technology adoption. Most older Americans now own smartphones and 45% of adults age 65+ use social media, especially Facebook.

Ultimately, we honed in on Facebook ads, SMS/email outreach, direct mail, and community events as our primary channels. We wanted our marketing to stand out in the “sea of sameness” and had clear message themes to test. 

Before investing significant resources in other channels, we experimented with a series of Facebook ad concepts to understand what resonated most with our target segments. We tested along several dimensions:

  • Tone: from serious and heartfelt to playful memes
  • Themes: from relieving emotional stress to financially focused
  • Style: from primarily text to relationship-focused images   
  • CTA: drive to a landing page vs. form directly on Facebook
  • Landing page: length, design, and copy

With robust analytics in place, we identified drivers of strong campaign performance across funeral homes. Here are two examples of our best-performing ads, with completely different tones and themes:

Our team iterated on the stronger-performing concepts and messaging to improve performance, and leveraged these insights to inform our strategy for other channels. From there, we developed retargeting pools plus email and SMS communications to help nurture customers through the long sales process.

Focus on Conversion

Leads are nice, but they don’t pay the bills. The goal of growth marketers is to drive conversions. While our campaigns were generating a strong volume of leads for Prelude, we knew our job wasn’t done.

We turned our focus to conversion. We leveraged Gitwit’s analytics team to build a lead management solution to scale consumer outreach, scheduling, and CRM implementation. Our analytics team also built a lead-scoring system to inform ad delivery and lead handling. We worked with Prelude’s team to optimize call scripts and email templates. 

The result is an efficient acquisition engine. And the next challenge? Helping Prelude scale acquisition to achieve ambitious growth targets.

Thinking about your own customer acquisition strategy — either redesigning your existing playbook or building one from scratch? We’d love to customize this process to fit your unique audiences and growth goals. Start a conversation by reaching out to