Why Personalization Matters

Companies are facing a challenging time today wrestling with the requirement to personalize communications and offers.  What’s more, personalization is about much more than segmentation, it’s about calibrating offers to a level of detail only achieved by understanding the consumer’s mindset and behavior at the point in time when interacting with your brand. Three articles from MarketingProfs.com discuss personalization from the challenge of accomplishing real time personalization to how to implement radical personalization and the challenges of personalization in digital marketing. Enjoy! Marketers Struggling With Real-Time Personalization Understanding the Five Pillars of Radical Personalization Marketers’ Biggest Obstacles to Effective Personalization   Tell Me What You Think! DBMCatalyst

Real-time Customer Segmentation

I’ve been around long enough to have heard the term “real-time” associated with a variety of marketing technologies, how about you?  And I often wonder about the value of that type of immediacy let alone the possibility of actually interacting in real time with my customers.  It’s always been one of those marketing aspirations which seems never quite actualized.  Or at best, it’s realized in a very mechanical way, such as re-directing a consumer to a new offer branch in a campaign based on their real-time response in a campaign.  All of which is better by far than the “blast” form of email or direct mail – which is still practiced in many industries.

In my opinion, the only value in “real-time” is knowing who your customer is in that moment as they interact with your brand.  And by “who” I really mean not only their demographics or psychographics but also their past behaviors and transactions all of which tell me something about their capacity and propensity to buy as well as their interest in/affinity towards my product.  When properly modeled the result is a score that  effectively segments your customer according to their lifetime value to your brand which enables you to deliver the most personalized, effective offer at the most profitable price.  This is real-time segmentation.

There are numerous approaches to segmentation from the simple demographic/psychographic classifications to sub-segmentations which employ sophisticated modeling techniques like factor and cluster analysis.   Ultimately most segmentation models give you a piece of the picture but even when they come close to the full definition of “who” the customer is, the result is in the “rear-view.”  The learnings  are applied after the fact, in a sense they describe who your customer “was.”   The moment of connection with your customer is lost or delayed.  The most sophisticated companies will rigorously update their customer segmentation models, but again, they are not describing the customer in “real-time” purchasing mode.

Real-time segmentation and scoring is possible today and will soon be enhancing the customer experience in not only call centers and online, but also in social and mobile channels.

Ask me about how!

Ann McCartan, DBMCatalyst

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Intelligent Targeting

By now it seems clear that matching product or service offers to the consumers who need them, want them and are ready to purchase is the best possible marketing practice.  This is targeting, pure and simple.  Among the many goals of target marketing, efficient use of resources is one of the most important, especially if you are a small or medium sized business – with limited marketing funds and few marketing staff.  You’ve got the product and services ready to go, now who are the right audiences or segments to match up with?  Let’s see how customer analysis can help.

Customer analysis can be applied to answer many different questions.  Depending on what data you have on your customer – from demographic, geographic, firmographic to transactional and behavioral – you can understand what makes customer different or the same and most of all, what motivates their purchases.  As a small or midsized company, SMB, you might not possess all of that data but if you are able to group your customers into some type of business category and match purchases against them, you can accomplish intelligent targeting for your offers.
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Multi-channel Marketing Integration is Vital: 3

But How Do You Actually Get There? Part 3

As I’ve been discussing in the post series, “Multi-channel Marketing Integration is a Vital Start But How Do You Actually Get There? Part 1”,  knowing what to do is a start but if you are a small to medium business, or a small department in a large company, with limited staff or technology, how do you implement what could be a complex eco-system?

Again, Here’s the pitch:

From search to social, customers are interacting with your brand across a variety of channels, most likely created by many different people, in many different departments. However, chances are your customer thinks of your brand as just one entity, purchasing across channels, oblivious to your internal structure and processes. Providing a consistent message and customer experience is critical, so savvy marketers are optimizing campaigns through automated marketing programs and integrated data strategies.”

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Gaining Customer Attention is Step 1

Continuing on the theme of last month’s post “Every Campaign Gain is a Win”,  let’s discuss incremental gains. While measuring incremental revenue and profits is the bottom line, measuring incremental email opens and click through rate (CTR) is indicative of how well each wave of the campaign is performing.

Just looking at email metrics, a recent campaign showed a lift of 8% in Opens among existing customers.  What does that mean?  It means that 8% of the total universe of customers mailed in this wave engaged and opened the email although they had not done so in the prior wave.  Additionally, we saw a 2% incremental lift in CTR (click through rate.) [Read more…]

Let’s put the Data back in Database Marketing

In the last year I’ve had numerous opportunities to explain what I do…and explain and explain…mostly to people who are involved in some aspect of marketing but not database marketing specifically.  To a person, when I’ve said “database marketing” they’ve said “oh you work with computers (database.)”   Well, I do some of my work through a database but that’s not the essential point.   And then, as you can imagine, the conversation has veered off into technology….

Technology may be the enabler, and clearly the database is key, but the data are paramount.  Database marketing is about the collection and application of data – about the customer and the prospect.   Wikipedia, an eminently detailed reference describes it like this:  “…Database marketing emphasizes the use of statistical techniques to develop models of customer behavior, which are then used to select customers for communications…”  [Read more…]

Selecting the Right Marketing Program Metrics

As a quantitative market researcher – earlier in my career – I learned a couple of key lessons about research design which have held true as a direct/database marketer. Foremost, that you have to know what results you need, and what business decisions you need to make, before ever crafting a question. Call it a hypothesis, if you love science, or a set of decision points, if for business.

So, what does this have to do with selecting the right marketing metrics? I was reading a great article “E-Mail Metrics That Matter ” and, while the whole article is worth reading, what made it great was the assertion that before selecting any metrics, it is crucial to know “what business goals you are trying to attain and what problems you are trying to solve.” [Read more…]

If Your Marketing Automation budget got an extra $10,000…

Recently I got into a conversation about incremental budget and basically how to optimize marketing automation with a shot of cash.

My reply was to spend the additional funds on improving the data, specifically, data enhancement. This is the addition or overlay of elements that describe the prospect or customer fully, such as demographics/firmographics, psychographics (attitudes, lifestyles) and most importantly behaviors. These elements are the basis for segmenting the consumer into groups such as best customers/prospects, most likely to upgrade or purchase additional products/services as well as for the creation of predictive models. [Read more…]

Retooled and back in business!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted my thoughts on marketing automation and database marketing. After a bit of retooling of my own Nuts & Bolts, I’m back and ready to resume sharing my insights and experiences. Look for more frequent and shorter communications as well as a new focus on customer information and analysis.

Best, Ann McCartan, DBMCatalyst

Building Customer Insight

I didn’t write the article I’m going to present, but I could have.  Which is not to compare or detract from Joseph M. DeCosmo’s wonderfully concise “survey course” in using customer insights to target relevant messages to the most receptive customers or prospects.  The Goal: make money from your customer data, right?

I could have written it because I have experienced every step along the path he describes both as an employee of or consultant to large corporations who have decided that customer data is the key to relevant marketing.   [Read more…]