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?

The reason for the question? That $100M retailer I've been following has pulled back - just AFTER I made my first purchase. As some of you may recall, this particular online merchant has sent nearly 60 emails since I signed up with them on January 6th, This is just the opposite of what I would expect. And is contrary to everything I've learned and practiced overs the last 20+ years in direct marketing.

If you don't know, those that have purchased most recently are most likely to purchase again today.

Now, I'm sure there may be exceptions to that "rule.". You know nuclear reactors, bridges, etc, (I don't know but maybe...) but for the rest of us selling, clothing, industrial supplies, computers, electronics, travel, financial services, etc., it's a pretty reliable rule to test and validate in your business.

So what did this online merchant do? They added more "wait time" or "no email" days in between sends. I'm not sure why, but hopefully it will become obvious in the days and weeks ahead. So far though, I'm surprised at the change... and still no cross-sell or up-sell offers based on what I bought back on March 27th.