B-to-B Insights: Unorthodox But Effective
You may need to export the data and run the calculations offline in a database program such as Microsoft Access, but the process is fairly simple. If you don't have someone on staff to run the calculations, freelance the work to a consultant or hire a recent college graduate with a degree in statistics.
When you're planning this type of business intelligence project, determine your objectives in terms of need-to-know and nice-to-know data. Need-to-know information will provide you actionable intelligence. For example, lifetime value by customer segment, defined by both RFM and NAICS/SIC codes, is a need-to-know piece of data. Once you have lifetime value reports, you can then determine your most productive prospect lists.
Nice-to-know information tends to be descriptive rather than predictive. If you can't determine a specific potential action that you'll take based on that knowledge, give that request a lower priority in your project. Note that I'm not saying don't follow up on nice-to-know information; you just have to prioritize.
A columnist for Retail Online Integration, George founded HAGUEdirect, a marketing agency. Previously he was a member of the Shawnee Mission, Kan.-based consulting and creative agency J. Schmid & Assoc. He has more than 10 years of experience in circulation, advertising, consulting and financial strategy in the catalog/retail industry. George's expertise includes circulation strategy, mailing execution, response analysis and financial planning. Before joining J. Schmid, George worked as catalog marketing director at Dynamic Resource Group, where he was responsible for marketing and merchandising for the Annie's Attic Needlecraft catalog, the Clotilde Sewing Notions catalog, the House of White Birches Quilter's catalog and three book clubs. George also worked on corporate acquisitions.