The Retention Challenge: Using Data Science to Understand Our Ad Customers
Overview of this campaign
By crunching historical data from both digital and print advertising Mittmedia started to see patterns in how ad revenue could be predicted based on customer retention.
Often the sales organization tend to approach customers from a short term perspective, mainly focusing on those that could potentially place large orders and thereby help the organization (or individual seller) to reach the revenue goal for the current month.
Data shows that an ad client often only is contacted based on the (by the salesperson) estimated probability that the client might place a large order within the coming days. But data also shows that there is a very high probability that clients who are contacted only sporadically will place smaller and smaller sales orders. If there is an extended time period between each time the salesperson contacts the client the measurable risk of churn is greatly increased, meaning that the advertising budget is shifted towards. This is especially true for companies that have very seasonal revenue streams, which sometimes leads to that contact between Mittmedia and that company only occurs once a year.
However, Mittmedia is also able to conclude that in cases when a salesperson is able to have an ongoing relationship with a client, even through off-seasons, the average campaign order size increases over time. Few companies tend to churn in the middle of an ongoing advertising campaign based on a long time strategy.
For Mittmedia the objectives in researching and acting on parameters that drive churn in the advertisement customer base are therefore rooted in redefining the sales process. The salesforce should base their goals and objectives on the insight that retention rather than acquisition is the key to revenue growth (which mirrors the common knowledge from the paid content business model).
Results for this campaign
Armed with insights on how Mittmedia´s traditional sales processes are preventing a desired
long term retention of advertising clients the company decided to start a process that analyzed our customer journey. The goal was that we from a customer point of view could identify pains in the process and make organizational improvements. We found that much of the change needed to start at the top, and during the early summer of 2019 the B2B executives within the organization decided on a path forward that introduced new retention strategies to the entire sales force, and in line with this a new competence training package and certification process was integrated into the company.
The KPI:s were also changed in line with the results produced by the data science work that laid the foundation for the project. The new KPI:s are now measuring customer growth over time and sales revenue on yearly basis instead of the usual monthly monitoring.
The effects of these changes are still being reviewed since a large part of the advertising business is seasonal driven and requires a long time frame for patterns to emerge. When we look at the statistics for the last months of 2018 we can, however, see a clear retention improvement in our display business.
We also published the results from the study on MittMedia’s Medium-page. It attracted a lot of attention from both our employees but also from colleagues in the media industry: https://medium.com/mittmedia/text-3870bdaa70b6