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Can email delivery analytics help you market smarter to your customers?

Recently I reviewed some material from my early days in catalog marketing and magazine publishing. The context of "deliverability" back then, as it still is today in the physical world, was all about understanding the postal system. Things like sectional center facilities (SCFs), zip code sort, zip+5, carrier route coding, bar codes, containerization, in-plant post office, merge/purge reports and site-penetration were just some of the things that were used to make decisions about getting your catalog or magazine delivered to the right people on time.

All of that seems to have been stripped away when deliverability was netted down to one item: the email address.

Or does it?

Customer Lifecycle Metrics: Nurture, Score, Repeat

Nicely written, Lisa Canon captures many of the reasons why marketing automation platforms are so popular. However, please recognize as you read through this, the metrics and reasons expressed can apply anywhere in the customer lifecycle. Remember, the customer lifecycle is all about the customer and metrics like those identified here, can apply to any stage of the customer's life experience with your company. Thy can occur as a Prospect, during Acquisition, Conversation, Penetration, Retention and ReAcquisition.

Data-driven marketers are computer scientists? Or riverboat gamblers?

Way back when, in the early stages of my career I was told that my job was to be half computer scientist and half riverboat gambler. The trick was to figure which half, at what point in time and in what situation.

Teradata recently ran an ad in Forbes magazine with the headline, "Data-driven businesses outperform" and the sub-head of, "Becoming a data-driven organization is now a matter of survival in the market, because such organizations tend to outperform."

Oh really?

Householding - is it a thing of the past?

Twenty-plus years ago when I started in direct marketing "householding" was a condition that every marketer with a database of any size had to deal with. For those that are too young to know what this is, let me explain:

Let's say you work for Sony and you want to market to Johnny Smith who lives at 123 Main Street, Toledo, Ohio. Johnny comes to a landing page, enters his name, address and email address into your nifty form and submits. He tells you he wants to receive email promotions and a catalog. Seems simple enough to interact with Johnny based on the information he provided.

Marketers count on short-term memory loss with customers

It must be one of the "secrets of the trade." Marketers count on short-term memory loss in their customers.

As mentioned earlier, we are tracking the email marketing of a $100M+ retailer. So far nearly 80 email offers received over the lat 3 months or so. One of the offers that sticks out is the "Last Chance for Free Shipping." Only it's not the last chance. The "free shipping" offer with "last chance", "2 days left" and "ends tomorrow" type of language has been received no less than 15 times.

Do they really think the customer is going to believe them the next time they say "Last chance...?" Nope. They're banking on the belief that customers have short-term memory loss OR that customers don't believe what they say anyway, so they can say whatever they want just to get a response.

Brings to the forefront why "truth in advertising" laws came into place in the first place. And it's a no-so-subtle reminder that when talking about "relationship marketing", "customer lifecycle marketing" or the "customer journey" it's important to be honest and truthful in your marketing.

Is RFM still valid in the online world?

Years ago in New York City I was introduced to the concept of RFM modeling (recency, frequency, monetary value). I briefly met Donald Libey and sat through a discussion / presentation with him while he mopped his head with a handkerchief. He was very enthusiastic about the topic and worked up a sweat - I supposed the room and lights might have also helped. :) Ever since, I have been a fan of this approach to business and have found it to be exceptionally useful.

In my career, I have used RFM in many industries, have combined it with frequency momentum and extended it by adding "depth" metrics drawn from web site traffic. And yet, I pose the question today, is it still valid in the online world?

There are no secrets on the web...and everything is on the web.

Wouldn't it be wonderful to have an app that let's everyone in the family know where everyone is, at all times and in all places. Parents would love it. Kids would hate it - especially the teenagers. And some spouses would never stand for it. This little marvel of an app could not only identify location but send timely and relevant messages to members of the family using location based data. Example, Joe stops at the gas station to fill up his car on the way home from work and instantly he gets a text message from his wife asking him to pick up a gallon of milk and bring it home.

Customer Lifecycle Metrics, Part 4: Convert, and Create a Customer

This article talks about the "customer lifecycle" but in realty the author is talking about "prospects." and the use of "conversion" metrics from a Prospect to a Customer. The lifecycle being talked about is BEFORE the person or company even becomes a "customer." My definition of a customer being someone that buys something. Meaning if they haven't given you money for your product or service, then they're not a customer.

We may be splitting hairs on this one, but Lisa still has some valid points and it's worth the read.

58 Emails and Counting...

A little more than 60 days ago I started tracking a $100M retailer to see how they manage their customer interactions. So far I have been disappointed. Especially since they are using the Eloqua platform and I have some familiarity with what it can do.

To make the point, here are a few actions I've taken and capabilities I have failed to experience:

Does your customer journey start like this?

Recently I signed on to receive emails from a specialty clothing retailer - just to see how they do their marketing. What you see above is the result of my first 20 days of emails received. Notice that the Welcome Email came on day one, then a pause until day 7, then every day a new email. A few other things I'd like to point out:

  • No personalization exists in any of these emails
  • No dynamic content has been delivered
  • No gender specific offers

London School of Marketing discusses the importance of conducting email marketing throughout the consumer lifecycle

It's refreshing to see the university crowd getting on-board with the idea of customer lifecycle marketing. Not that schools haven't previously been on-board, but the industry can use more marketing students coming out of school that have some concept of lifecycle marketing.

This is the 2nd article I have seen in recent weeks highlighting the usefulness of email marketing when applied to a defined customer lifecycle. Clearly this is not new to the marketing technology industry, but whenever 3rd party sources make the observation and emphasize the value of this typie of marketing, it is satisfying to those of us that have been practicing it for decades.

"Who cares what they need-it's what they want that sells."

Many years ago, in the formative years of my career, this was one of the sage pieces of advice given to me. In truth, this goes against all the idealism that was poured into me in my tender youth. :)

However, there is some truth to this and it's important to reconcile with it in your efforts to constantly increase the economic exchange that happens as you work through the lifecycle of your customers. Let me illustrate with a few examples:

Traditional campaign marketers fail when it comes to lifecycle marketing...

Unless they change their thinking and their behaviors.

Take a look at the ugly / simple chart above. Notice that a 5 day gap exists between each email in the campaign. Now consider that this drip campaign has 8 steps in the series. Simple math tells us that 40 days will pass before the prospect or customer passes through the entire series...

Years ago when I first started in direct marketing, one of the companies I studied was Reader's Digest. As I recall they used a 37 step renewal series. That's right, 37 steps! And they weren't mailing every 5 days. It took years to complete the series.

Why did they do this? Simple. They knew that it cost less to obtain an order by mailing their house file 37 times than it did to find a new customer that would buy that first time...

Sometimes marketers act as if the only answer they know is "more is better" and "faster" must be best of all.

This is foolishness...

How Bank of Montreal has achieved one-to-one customer engagement - CMO Australia

Excellent view on transitioning an organization to become focused on the customer.  If you get only one thing - get this point:  The customer-centric approach also triggered a reorganisation of marketing in the last six months from a focus on product, to customer acquisition and lifecycle management.  Great products are wonderful, but they needed to be delivered to serve the needs of customers.  Focusing on the customer is the answer.

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