Meet the four “breeds” of customers

How to identify (and target) your existing clients by type
All Breeds 1

We all know it’s more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to sell more to your existing customers. Customer retention is more important than ever, so the trick is to use the data you have on your customers to understand them and market to them more effectively.

Before chasing down expensive new leads, dig deeper into existing customer data.

Client Breeds Diagram

Sorting your customers into four quadrants

To overdo the dog metaphors, think of your customers as breeds. Using a horizontal axis of “average number of purchases over time” and a vertical axis of “average purchase amount”, we can map out our customers into four different quadrants.

In the top-right, you have your loyal, always reliable Labradors. Let’s call this breed the “best” (yes we are biased at YellowDog). Top-left is the regal Great Danes. We’ll call this breed the “spenders”.  We’ve all dealt with the slightly pesky, ever-underfoot Chihuahua in the bottom-right quadrant. These are your “frequent” customers. Finally, there’s the skittish cats (this is actually a species, not a breed, we know) who neither spend much nor come around often. This is the “uncertain” bottom-left quadrant. 

Let’s take a closer look at each. 


“Best” Quadrant: The Loyal Labradors

Your “best” customers just need to be loved and petted. They already know and love your business. Simply saying thanks, asking for their feedback, and learning more about them are enough to keep their loyalty.  Your “best” customers don’t ask for special discounts. They just want the same reliable product and service they have become accustomed to.

Targeted campaign idea: spoil them. It’s likely this quadrant makes up at least 50% of your revenue. That gives you permission to spoil these customers with surprises like a holiday gift box or mailer.

Great Dane

“Spenders” Quadrant: The Flashy Great Danes

Your “spenders” don’t visit often, but when they do, you notice. The goal with a “spender” is to get them to visit one more time. They have money to spend but need motivation to visit again and become a regular. Appeal to their sense of self-importance with exclusive events and offers. 

Targeted campaign idea: spend big and save. Find out the average amount your Great Danes spend—say $150 per transaction—then up the stakes a little. Offer them a promo such as “spend $250, get 10% off”.


“Frequent” Quadrant: The Needy Chihuahuas

Your “frequent” customers visit often but the average transaction amount is under your average. These slightly anxious folks should be at the top of the list for cross-selling and up-selling opportunities. They already like you, they keep coming back, they just need a little encouragement to expand their purchasing behavior.

Targeted campaign idea: the cross-sell. Appetize your Chihuahuas with products that are similar or complementary to what they’re already buying. For example, let them know that not only do you sell basic dog food, but also gourmet dog food AND dog treats.


“Uncertain” Quadrant: The Skittish Cats

Your uncertain customers are just that. Uncertain. We all know the types: the leads that ghosted you, the stray one-timers, and the aloof bargain hunters that we just don’t know much about. The goal here is get these customers into one of the more dog-like quadrants by upping their purchase frequency and/or spend.

Targeted campaign idea: offer them a treat. Lure the skittish types back to you with incentives like 10% off their order for first-time customers or a freebie with their next purchase.

All Breeds 3

All breeds deserve some petting

Not all customers are created equal, and it makes sense to play favorites. But one thing all these breeds have in common is that they’ve already engaged with your brand and purchased something from you. Marketingwise, the heavy lifting is done. 

Now is the time to cultivate relationships with your clients, understand them better, show them kindness (no matter how pesky they can be!), and appeal to their unique traits and habits. And always be ready with the treats.

Ready to segment your clients into quadrant breeds? Get in touch with Jenny and the YellowDog marketing team. We’ll help you make sense of your customer data so you really see your customers. From there, we’ll help you plan and execute a targeted campaign so that your customers really see you.

Jenny Mulligan Headshot (1) Jenny Mulligan is the co-owner and president of YellowDog, a print, design, and marketing studio in Denver. Together with her husband Dan and two labrador retrievers, she wrangles a team of creatives and tinkerers into an award-winning business. She has an abiding love for spreadsheets and designing on Canva.

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