Business executives begin a new year by setting goals and objectives for all employees. Goals and objectives are designed to provide clarity for employees, helping them understand the most important ways they can contribute to company success in the new year.

In 1998, Eddie Bauer was a very profitable multichannel marketing brand. As its director of circulation at the time, I was responsible for maximizing ROI in catalog marketing. We spent a lot of money on catalog marketing. We also spent a lot of money offering various discounts. Our favorite was “20% off your order of $100 or more.” When customers last purchased seven or more months ago, we began offering them this promotion. And it worked.

We read surprisingly little about social media and database marketing. Why is that? The primary goal of database marketing is to capture the kind of information in a database that can be used at a later date to either facilitate a purchase or reduce marketing expense to a customer unlikely to purchase again. So wouldn't it seem that capturing social media information in a database should be a big deal? By having this information, you can truly learn how customers with prior activity will perform in the future.

Your database has all of the answers to retail direct marketing. By leveraging mail and holdout groups, you easily can identify the most cost-effective strategies for driving traffic to retail stores.

ROI is a very different discipline in e-mail marketing. While there's nothing wrong with measuring ROI using traditional metrics (open, clickthrough and conversion rates), you can use mail and holdout tests to obtain a realistic view of the long-term impact of e-mail marketing.

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