Eckler’s Approach to 3-Year Planning Puts Customer Data, History to Work
Catalogers develop three-year plans for at least three reasons: to map out growth and customer acquisition plans; to develop financial goals; and because their bosses, investors or company-owning banks want to see such data. The theme of a session during the recent ACCM conference, held May19-22 in Kissimmee, Fla., on three-year planning centered primarily around speaker Charis Gaines, director, marketing planning and analysis for car parts cataloger Eckler Industries, who led the session along with consultant Gina Valentino of Hemisphere Marketing.
Gaines shared her three-year planning process at Eckler, which focuses on putting customer data to work when putting such plans together. Specifically, it focuses on the following:
* housefile health;
* prospecting; and
In examining your housefile, determine how deeply you’ll profitably mail your file, Gaines said, and which of your requesters and prospects have the greatest propensity to respond to your offers. To get to this point, it’s best to know who your buyers, requesters and prospects are and how they respond to your offers.
As for segmentation, Gaines and Valentino recommended the following good/better/best scenario.
Good: divide your file into measurable buckets;
Better: use RFM to segment your file and measure the performance of buyers, prospects and requesters; and
Best: use RFM and other data, such as modeling, optimization or product purchase attributes, to further determine the best records to contact over the course of a year.
“Once you’ve started segmenting,” Gaines said, “you can use tools like RFM. At Eckler’s, when I first got there, we were divided into zero to three months and six-month buyers. This worked for years, but response [ultimately] went down. So we started doing more RFM, looking at buyers by segmenting, and started to see which segments we could drop out, because they weren’t profitable.”