A customer acquisition specialist is a person dealing in, as the job title suggests, customer acquisition. In other words, this is the guy (or gal) you need to hire when you need someone who nails paid and organic sales funnels.
That’s the short version. The longer version is a bit more twisted and complex. In an ideal world, we’d all have job titles that clearly define what we do for a living. I’m saying “ideal world” because we all know that doesn’t happen. And while your mom, friends, and the random people you see on your way to work every day might not give much importance to what your job title represents, your customers/ employers do.
It can be mighty confusing to not know what type of specialist you need to hire. For example, to circle back to the topic of our discussion here, what do you need? Should you hire a customer acquisition specialist? Or maybe a growth marketer? Or maybe, just maybe, you just need an online marketing specialist?
The answer lies not in whatever the pile of resumes lying in front of you says, but in you and your needs.
Let’s take a closer look at what customer acquisition is, what is a customer acquisition specialist vs a growth marketer, whether or not you need one, either, or both, and how to do it.
In oversimplistic terms, a customer acquisition specialist acquires customers for businesses. Unfortunately, keeping it to oversimplistic terms does not cut it -- not in a world where there’s a very niche, the specific job for everything.
It’s easy to mistake customer acquisition specialists as generalist marketers, sales specialists, business development specialists, SEO specialists, PPC specialists, or anything in between. The reason it can be easy to make confusion is rather simple: a customer acquisition specialist’s job is, kind of, at the interference between all of the above.
A customer acquisition specialist meets a pretty wide range of skills:
A customer acquisition specialist’s job is to stay on top of the most efficient channels of customer attraction and conversion -- not so much according to the “latest trends”, as much as according to what actually works for each company. The way a customer acquisition specialist knows what works is by experience, trial/ error, and, ultimately, data.
As mentioned in the beginning, it is fairly easy to mistake a customer acquisition specialist’s job for other similar ones in the digital marketing industry. One of the most frequent mistakes is overlapping the tasks (and purpose) of a growth marketer vs a customer acquisition specialist.
Both roles are very important, and they can both lead to a company’s growth in revenue. Both of them deal with digital marketing. And at least partially, they are both specialists in both organic and paid traffic funnels.
The main difference lies in approach. The growth marketer is an ace at looking at the big picture, understanding it, and searching for small, quick tweaks that get the biggest impact (such as reaching for low-hanging fruits when creating content, for example). A growth marketer’s playbook is all about sprinting, quick growth, and short-term results. Which is great, but not what (all that) you may need right now (depending on where your company is in its lifecycle, the nature of your products, and so on).
The customer acquisition specialist, on the other hand, is all about the long haul. This person understands the big picture just like a growth marketer does -- but instead of consistently reaching for the minimum input with maximum results, he/she devises long-term plans and adjusts them as more data flows in.
A growth marketer and a customer acquisition specialist make a great team together. Their goals are similar in nature: they want to bring more customers (ergo, more revenue) into a company. Their methods, however, aren’t. And while it may be tempting to think the quick wins a growth marketer aims for are enough, they most frequently aren’t because they tend to leave a business's sales and marketing strategy hollow. When all the quick tweaks run out, you still need a long-term battle plan.
This is not to say growth marketing is useless or counterproductive. On the contrary, it has a very clear purpose you should definitely aim for - but it is equally important not to neglect your long-term strategy if you want your results (and your growth) to be sustainable.
In short, a customer acquisition specialist should be the main focus hire for pretty much every company looking to grow and scale its activities. If you run a local bakery, for example, and you want to stay very local and neighbourhood-focused, a customer acquisition specialist might not do much for you (what you need instead is someone who knows how to create a community and loyalize people around your business).
If you want steady, healthy growth, you should hire a customer acquisition specialist. For example, if you are running a SaaS business that is past its MVP (minimum viable product) and past acquiring the first handful of customers, a customer acquisition specialist will help you gather the data and insights your business has generated until now, create an acquisition and growth strategy that helps you generate more revenue, and execute said strategy.
OK, let’s say you have decided your business needs a customer acquisition specialist onboarded as soon as possible. What to look for when hiring this specialist?
Here are some of the qualities your customer acquisition specialist should have:
All in all, a customer acquisition specialist should be both a strategic thinker and a liaison between the different elements that come into your marketing and sales efforts. As such, this person should have good knowledge of multiple areas of marketing and sales without being a Jack of All Trades per se, but a long-term planner that understands the importance of having a bird’s eye view on things (and how to transform it into meaningful strategies that generate revenue).
What does a customer acquisition specialist do?
A customer acquisition specialist creates and executes sales funnels and conversion strategies focused on a starting point on both organic and paid traffic searches. Additionally, the customer acquisition specialist liaises with other members of the marketing and sales teams to collect data, help provide insight, and apply strategies that help businesses generate more customers (and thus, more revenue).
How is customer acquisition done?
Customer acquisition starts with a deep understanding of both qualitative and quantitative data. Once that is set in place, customer acquisition relies on steady, long-term planning that helps attract traffic that will eventually be converted into customers.
What is meant by customer acquisition?
Customer acquisition refers to bringing in new customers through both organic and paid channels, paired with solid, scalable sales funnels that convert traffic into buyers.
How much should you pay a customer acquisition specialist?
The fee a customer acquisition specialist will charge depends on their experience, proven track record, and your specific needs.