MeritDirect Event Panel Heading Back to the Future, Part 2
The challenge I see now is our customers who buy picnic tables and park benches: Their buying behaviors are changing, and I don’t think this is temporary — it’ll be longer haul. We have to stay close to data and get it faster.
Nelson: We installed a new system in 2006, which created an opportunity for us to get better data than before and a greater ability to analyze it. So we embarked on a project to dive deeper into our data to figure out where to spend our next marketing dollar. As we start to increase our marketing media spend, we want to know where to put it: in catalogs, pay per click (PPC) and other media.
We’re almost finished with our data warehouse analytics project and are going to take the information, turn it over to MeritDirect and ask how to find people like these. If this is the new “normal,” we need to learn to be profitable now.
Faith: As soon as we feel we’re out of this, we’ll market. We’re waiting. Then we’ll market very fast.
Jukes: Where are you with your prospecting and mailing plans?
Nelson: We send promotional products you can stick in an envelope to announce a new product. We’ll be more selective with that, but one of the things coming out of our analysis is the difference between lifetime value (LTV) [between traditional catalog customers and web customers]. We’ll probably pull back on our PPC investment and increase our catalog investment.
Even though our PPC customers are profitable, we know their lifetime value is significantly less [than catalog LTV], so we’ll probably change how we allocate our money. We came to PPC late, in 2006. Some areas it works; others it doesn’t.
Runke: Prior to 2008, we looked at our circulation plan as mail customers, housefile, then prospects. Separating customers and prospects specifically yields us a lot of good information as to who’s getting the catalog and how often.