Simplicity is Key for Marketing AnalyticsMarch 3rd, 2009 by Chris Herrick
Over the past two weeks, I’ve been watching the fallout from two important conferences taking place on the West Coast (where I would much rather be right now given the latest round of snow in Boston.) The first annual Predicitive Analytics World ’09 was staged in San Francisco on Feb 18th and 19th and eTail West 2009 took place last week and drew in a host of e-Marketers from around the country. One common theme that I seem to be hearing from the blogs and articles I’ve read from both: make sure you’re using your customer data effectively and, most importantly, keep it simple.
Obviously, simple can mean a lot of things, but if I may be so bold as to consolidate some of the panels and discussions from both conferences, I think we can break it down into three main points:
- Don’t waste your marketing dollars on customers that don’t need to be contacted. Many retailers already believe that they’re doing this by not sending emails or direct mail to customers who haven’t purchased in the last two years – but, honestly, this may not be enough. As Eric Siegel, the chairperson of this year’s Predictive Analytics conference, points out, you may be able to save more money (both directly and indirectly) on your marketing budgets by making sure you’re not hitting up customers that would purchase from you without marketing communications and those that get offended or sick of receiving too many communications.
- Only look at the metrics that matter. It’s easy for many of us to want to see all of the fascinating metrics and derivatives that can come out of customer, transactional, and web data – but really, other than fun trivia, how actionable is most of this information? During etail West, Eric Rasmussen, director of market research at Shutterfly pointed out that “for many companies, an overzealous desire to be metric-driven often renders them handicapped, and…they want to look at everything, which is impossible. They have a sea of data coming their way and they’re unable to do anything about it.” Figure out what you want to accomplish, whether it’s increasing online revenue, bumping up conversion rates, or lowering churn, and then narrow your focus to only use metrics that give information about that goal.
- Analytics should be used to educate your team, not make decisions for it. While I fully believe that analytics are critical for valuable insight into what’s really happening with customers, they shouldn’t be used as a proxy for marketing decision making. Larry Freed, one of the presenters as eTail West tells us that “metrics [should be used] to help you educate your team, [to understand] what you’re doing and the success you’re having,” and in doing so, “discern precisely what “lever” to pull in order to drive your business and optimize toward a particular goal”. Translated – use analytics to show you where you need to spend your time and give you options, use your own business insight and marketing intuition to execute your strategy.
Clearly, there were many other great points that came out of both conference, but in regards to analytics and, especially, email marketing, I think these three points really ring true. Hopefully, we’ll see more discussion online in the next few days about both of these conferences.
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