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

Investigative Prospecting

As a sales professional I always found it more productive to initiate informed conversations with my prospects vs. making tons of calls hoping to get a hit, i.e., someone who happened to be in the market for “xxx…”  I made fewer dials but had a significantly higher qualified appointment rate.

But this post isn’t about sales per se.  It’s about the type of prospecting that is thoughtful, probing, prospect-focused and directed at finding common ground.   It’s about finding opportunity and gaining better understanding of where the product or service will fit within the prospects toolkit…if it fits at all.  I call it Investigative Prospecting.
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Marketing Lessons from My Furniture Mover

During most of March and April I’ve been consumed with selling my house and purchasing another.  From inspectors for this and that, to contractor estimates, to selecting the service providers who will move my household goods and furniture its been an overwhelming process of specing needs, soliciting bids, evaluation and final commitment.   Aannd….you ask:  How the heck does this relate to marketing?

Here’s the analogy.  Just as with the process of selecting a moving company, the selection of a marketing automation vendor should ultimately come down to not just what they will do (pricing, timing, truck size, man hours) but how they will get you from point A to point B.   In the case of moving, ease of packing, management of the move, pre-move check lists, online resources and helpful hints, turnaround time to answering my queries, the number of folks involved in my move are the soft factors that provide the sense of security I need to undergo this fairly stressful change.  I’ve selected a company who will choreograph this event freeing me up for other details that I’m better at.

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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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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…]

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…]

B2B Marketing: Digging Into Customer Behaviors, Segmentation and Three Top Benefits

I’ve recently read about new trends in B2B Marketing:  the use of behavioral analytics, psychographic segmentation and data overlays.   (B2B Magazine, “Transformation via Sophistication” ) There’s no doubt that behavioral tracking and analysis shines a light on the pathways that lead from research to interest to engagement and on to conversion.  The trick is understanding which activities most strongly correlate to the ultimate conversion process and how to move the prospective buyer from point A to point “C.”   And when to disengage from prospects, i.e., Visitors, who endlessly participate in downloads, webinars and even frequent site click throughs without any intention of purchase.  The cost to maintain interaction with “Visitor” isn’t insignificant. [Read more…]

Building Your Own Email List – a mid-market Retailer’s Story

Wherever you are on the journey towards multichannel marketing it’s never too early to begin to build your email list.  And, even if you possess a small number don’t let size hold you back.  There are a number of valid ways to quickly expand your list but the main thing is to build it properly and that means using opt-in and consumer permission.  Campaigner.com discusses the pros and cons of list building in its white paper “Building your opt-in contact list” but a short real life story of how one mid-sized retailer approached the problem should be instructive.

This retailer had brick and mortar stores as well as an e-commerce channel, a loyal following and a database of customer information with some email addresses.  Problem was email addresses were collected haphazardly and rarely hygiened.  Email campaigns sent to these addresses offered the same products to all consumers with no regard to their interests.  In general email capture rates were low and blast campaigns to those addresses often resulted in high opt-out activity.

The company decided to try a different approach.  A new campaign was initiated specifically for recent online purchasers.  They were offered the chance to create a profile of interests and preferences.  In return they could enter into a rewards program which featured special notification of store sales, online coupons and store circulars.  Both their email address and profiles were maintained and managed in a separate marketing database.  This new base of customers was small at first so the company added another component:  FOAF or Friend of a Friend.  A Friend responding who had never shopped the retailer was sent to a landing page to provide their name and email address and an opportunity to register for the rewards program – active upon first purchase.  Starting with a base of several thousand online purchasers, the email list began to grow at an incremental rate of 5% monthly.  Today it is just shy of 1,000,000.

While not every responder filled out a profile, those that did received relevant messages and offers based on their profile preferences and interests.  Not surprisingly, open rates rose to 25%+ with CTR’s at 40%+.  After a few months the company was able to track purchases in-store and online to the targeted email respondents.

The success of opt-in, preference profiling, target messaging and tracking has provided marketing with the strong case to improve its old base of email addresses for future revenues.

Regards, Ann McCartan,  DBMCatalyst

Do You Have a Similar Story?  Leave a Comment to Share It With Us!

Marketing Campaign Stories: “Never Say Never!”

A cable and broadband company “passed” a particularly resistant segment of homes with their technology.  The company had regularly sent direct mail “blasts” to acquire these homes as customers.  “Blasts” or mass mailings were standard practice in the industry with communications varied only by product line.  Every recipient got the same offer.

The analysis of return on marketing dollars invested, which was looked at quarterly, pinpointed ongoing negative ROMI in the segment known as “nevers”, i.e., never purchased cable.  Despite representing a fairly large population of homes passed, a case was made for eliminating all direct marketing to the segment.  But the new database marketing team made an interesting recommendation to the Product Manager for Basic service and together we came up with a successful solution.

A program was designed and executed that ultimately produced a 5.6% response from the “nevers” segment.  Not only was this a 5.6% lift to the acquisition campaign in general, but the response was the highest seen by any campaign at that time.  Typically, acquisition campaigns returned a .5% to 2.0%.

The key elements of success were:

  • A unique offer featuring several tiers of Basic service, some priced even lower than usual (but with profit margin maintained)
  • Clear compelling copy carefully explaining the benefits and features of each tier
  • The first use of a highly targeted campaign with offers varied by segment
  • The first use of multiple contacts, i.e., waves of communication, to each segment repeating the targeted offers

With conversion rates in the 30% to 40% range, this program succeeded in the acquisition of several thousand brand new cable customers.

Once the company began to focus on the prospects’ needs, interests and price elasticity vs. pushing product, it became an easy decision to purchase cable.

Best, Ann McCartan,  DBMCatalyst