Plum Direct Marketing

Transform Your Business: Know Your CLV

Transform Your Business: Know Your CLV

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

Trying to figure out how much you can, or should, spend on marketing your business can be a very intimidating task. Spend too much and you might lose or not make any money. Don’t spend enough and you could miss opportunities to attract new business and more MONEY. Have no fear, Plum Direct Marketing is here to help.

When marketing your company or latest offer, one very important metric is Customer Lifetime Value. Without this number you will never know how much you can actually spend on your marketing efforts and still turn a profit. Although it is very easy to figure out a basic CLV, many marketers don’t take the time to do the math. This will hinder you from establishing a financially stable business or sustaining a current one.

What Is It?

By definition, Customer Lifetime Value or CLV (or even CLTV or LTV) is the prediction of the net profit attributed to the entire future relationship with a customer. Simply put – it is how much money, on average, you will make from a single customer in a given time frame.

Why is it important?

As a business professional you should understand that any metric that reflects your business is equally important as the next. However, when it comes to marketing, CLV may be one of the most important. If calculated correctly, you will have a valuable benchmark that can be used many times in marketing, sales, product development and even customer service. Let’s dive in and see how we can get this working for you.


Let’s figure it out.

Don’t worry you don’t need a degree in economics or quantitative finance to figure out your CLV. There are many advanced formulas you can use but we will focus on a standard, easy to follow formula for the purpose of this post.

Average Sale Amount x Average Amount of Repeat Sales x Average Lifetime of Customer = Customer Lifetime Value

Here’s an example:

A parking garage in Boston charges $50 a month for a membership/space in their lot.

On average the members last 5 years. The garage can store up to 150 vehicles.

Using the formula above, we can find out the CLV of one member.

Average Sale Amount ($50) x Average Amount of Repeat Sales (12 per year) x Average Lifetime of Customer (5 years)


$50 x 12 x 5 = $3,000

Following the example, the average Customer Lifetime Value of the garage is $3,000.

How to apply it.

Now that you have figured out your customer lifetime value you need to put it to good use. Let’s take a good look at where and when you can use it – (using the above example)

Marketing – when marketing the parking garage, the owners now know they can spend up to $3,000 per member and still break even. This could mean MORE direct mail pieces, HIGHER QUALITY pieces, or even a STRONG digital campaign in addition to their physical efforts.

They can also take the formula to the next level and multiply the CLV by the total possible members (150), to see how much they can spend marketing the garage as a whole.

CLV x Total Possible Members = Total Business Customer Lifetime Value

 $3,000 x 150 = $450,000 (per 5 years)

Sales – as the garage sells memberships they may choose to have promotions to increase member sign-up. Now that they have a per member CLV and total business CLV they can determine how much of a discount they can offer and still remain profitable in the long run.

Customer Service – another overlooked use of CLV is when businesses budget for customer service. Using their CLV the garage knows how much per month or year it can spend on retaining customers to increase the overall average lifetime of the members. This will subsequently increase cash flow and prepare the garage for long term success.

But you don’t own a garage!

The garage now knows they can spend up to $450,000 in a five-year span on marketing to, acquiring and retaining new members. They probably had no idea they could spend that much money and still turn a profit. The same applies to youyour business and your next campaign.

Chances are you don’t own a garage but you may be preparing to launch your next marketing campaign with us. So using your CLV you can ensure that you are putting your best foot forward. You could find out that you can upgrade to higher quality mailersmail more pieces or even slowly expand to different territorieswithout risking your entire budget.

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Estimated Reading Time: 1 minute