Mistakes happen. The goal with training, checks and balances, and defined procedures is to prevent as many as possible – hopefully all of them.
However, some things inevitably are not thought of, appear out of nowhere, and catch even the best organisation off guard.
To keep mistakes to a minimum, when helping companies launch direct marketing efforts, I give them a list of the top 10 things that will go wrong in hopes that they can avoid everything on the list. I’ve come to realise that many of the mistakes seem to be unavoidable, and each client will make them regardless of any advance warning.
The inside joke is that there are now more than 25 things on my top-10 list.
Between problems with dirty data coming in, mistakes in selections, broken software, or even problems with the type of ink in a printer, mistakes happen. And they result in everything from having a good chuckle (the AMEX logo next to the VISA check box) to a major financial issue (the entire 80,000-piece mailing sent to the newspaper’s office instead of the prospect’s because ......[more]
05 August 2015 · By Greg Bright
So did it work?
You’ve spent several weeks designing a marketing campaign. From designing the piece, setting up special rate codes, promotion codes, building a consistent cross-channel message, and scripting to the building out a highly refined selection criteria to select the lists used for the campaign.
Out into the mail the piece goes. Up go the run of site ads. The e-mails are sent and, finally, the telemarketing follow-up takes place. Three weeks later you send a second e-mail, then finally the campaign wraps up and the promotions on the Web site return to the standard copy.
Did it work? Which channel performed, which didn’t? What was the cost?
Monitoring response by various key indicators is critical. Having the monitors in place right from the very beginning is critical.
If you are a typical media operation, you probably have the next campaign set to launch right away. You are probably seeing questions from the executives in the organisation wondering about the campaign.
If it went right, can you do it again. And if it went poorly, what you (and the rest of the campaign design group) doing to on the expense side to ......[more]
12 July 2015 · By Greg Bright
My favourite words from the sales management after a campaign executes is “Do it again.”
It is always reassuring to hear that all of the work involved in producing a well-designed acquisition campaign brought in the results expected. The modeling worked, the selections worked, the size of the list was right, the data was well paired with the creative and offers presented to the recipients. Success!
And, my most feared words from sales management? “Do it again.”
What? Can the same statement be both loved and feared? Yes.
From the data perspective, it is impossible to “do it again.” The data has changed from the initial campaign run 60 days ago to today’s running. Those addresses that made the first run a success are now customers so they aren’t available in the next pass. A literal running “again” just picks all of the non-responders from the first pass.
Sure, some will respond, but nowhere near the first attempt. So, doing it again won’t make anyone ......[more]
15 June 2015 · By Greg Bright
In the age of Big Data, news media companies are operating with an unprecedented amount of information on which to base critical business decisions. The ability to append demographics and lifestyle data and transactional history, unify online and offline data to achieve a “single customer view,” and create advanced segmentation models at an individual customer level are all very exciting.
But in the end, we are still confronted with the challenge of aligning supply with demand to justify our marketing investments and effectively measure the return on those investments.
As marketers we have all asked or been asked the question: “Can’t you get me more customers?”
In other cases, it comes in the form of the statement “I need X new customers this month.”
Both are best addressed through very careful analytics and application of micro-economic theory.
Volume-based planning: a flawed model
A common mistake of marketers is to follow the simple, traditional, volume-driven approach (i.e. “I need X new customers this month”). In the campaign design, we skip the supply and demand consideration and jump to the conclusion – not because we did the math but because ......[more]
17 May 2015 · By Greg Doufas
The data scientist.
Has there ever been so much interest and demand in a job title?
Confusion, too. Who are these data scientists? What do they do? What qualifies them, and how do you find these people?
“A data scientist is a statistician who lives in San Francisco.” – Josh Wills
In the 1980s and 90s, it was data mining, database marketing, and other business intelligence skill sets that were all the buzz. These jobs required people who could manipulate and transform data through the use of popular data/database code (SQL) and statistical software (SAS, SPSS, etc.).
The data was typically structured and relational in nature. IT “owned” the databases and managed the administration required for the software being used to access and speak to the data.
Times were simpler back then. A database dictionary, a proper understanding of statistical methods, and some degree of certification (or at least advanced training) in statistical software ......[more]
16 February 2015 · By Greg Doufas
“Don’t let anyone just tell you what they value. Look at their budget and daily calendar and you can tell them what they value.”
This was some of the best advice I’ve ever been given.
It was early in my career. I was managing my first truly complex business intelligence programme, and I was struggling to map business objectives to an analytics roadmap. Even at executive levels, opinions about the right objectives to quantify and measure were all over the map.
Essentially, no one could agree on what our key performance metrics were. I was stuck and it was that advice that helped me most at the time: I needed to cut through the empty statements of intent and opinion and come to terms with the truth.
The first step was ......[more]
22 December 2014 · By John M. Lervik
Have you ever been reading a serious article about troubles in the Middle East, but somehow find yourself bombarded by irrelevant recommendations for articles about Justin Bieber or how to “lose weight fast?”
Does this feel off-putting to you? It should.
For publishers to build a loyal and engaged readership, they need to understand their own content inside out to offer users valuable and relevant recommendations that motivate them to engage, read, and share content.
Publishers must scratch their heads when they see traffic pouring into their site, only to see a staggering 75% of users leave after only one page view. This bounce rate reflects the short attention span of digital audiences, particularly on mobile, but also highlights the publisher’s inability to grab its target audience when they are already on its site.
Many publishers have made a half-hearted effort to engage users via social media channels. This may drive traffic to individual articles, but it’s rarely loyalty building.
More likely, it will be another “one-and-done” page view where a user clicks the link, goes to the recommended page, reads some of the article, and returns to where they came from without exploring the publisher’s site.
This kind of “a la carte” viewing is driving page view numbers, but ......[more]
28 October 2014 · By Greg Doufas
Understanding the lifetime value (LTV) of your customer is one of the most important capabilities your Big Data programme can, and should, offer.
Simply put, you cannot have a meaningful conversation about business threats or opportunities in a customer-centric context without a detailed understanding of what the long-term profitability of your relationships are.
In fact, I would argue it makes little sense to advance a Big Data road map focused on all the best data science and technology has to offer without doing the heavy lifting (and thinking) required in developing customer lifetime value metrics and implementing a plan to embed the required vocabulary into business processes.
Customer lifetime value is the net profit attributed to a customer relationship over the predicted tenure of the relationship with your organisation.
It is important because ......[more]
29 September 2014 · By John M. Lervik
Like other industries confronted with a new paradigm, publishers felt challenged as digital media began overtaking traditional publishing channels. But digital is here to stay.
Now it’s time for publishers to truly own it – capitalising on content, implementing new revenue models, and making them work.
The key to success? It’s all about the audience and the context.
Gone are the days when geography alone helped assure a valuable audience. Today’s successful publishers actively seek site visitors, and have figured out how to keep them on the site and engage them with premium content.
The result is readers who are more likely to become repeat and loyal visitors and potentially paid subscribers.
Seeking out audiences can be ......[more]
19 August 2014 · By John M. Lervik
Digital publishers are compromised by third parties (Google, Facebook, advertising vendors, social media widget providers, and others) that take, use, and monetise the customer data publishers generate.
And it’s precisely that access to customer data that causes its value to diminish and threatens publisher profitability.
Instead of inadvertently giving data away, publishers need to learn what it means to take control of their data and start putting it to use to boost audience engagement, increase digital advertising revenue, and drive more paid digital subscriptions.
A recent publishing profitability survey of nearly 400 United States publishing executives showed that 78% of publishers don’t know if third parties access their data, and whether or how they are monetising it. Furthermore, publishers don’t have a clear idea of who or how many third parties are ...