Which Data Points Really Matter ... and Which Don't
Dear Dr. pROfIt: We have six different versions of our weekly email campaign. We decide who receives what version based on purchase history — specifically, what merchandise they've bought. I don’t think this is appropriate. Our customers tell us on the website what they want to see. Shouldn’t we honor what they're asking for?
Dr. pROfIt: This is one of those cases where logic and intuition can fail to yield an optimal solution. There are different data points with different levels of influence. For email marketing, analysts can look at prior purchase histories, web analytics data, stated customer preferences and demographic/lifestyle data. Generally, prior purchase data carries the most weight, with purchases in the past 12 months greatly outweighing any other information.
Clickstream data usually comes next, with clicks in the past month playing a key role. After that, stated customer preferences are next. This is interesting because one would think that what a customer "wants" to see is most important, but actual customer data tells us different. Finally, demographic/lifestyle data can play a role, but the role is tiny in comparison to the attributes mentioned earlier.
In other words, focus on the data points that directly lead to profit as your top priority. Focus on customer actions as your second priority. Everything after that contributes much less value.
The most sophisticated email marketers combine all of these factors and assign weights to each one:
- Prior purchase activity = 10 points
- Prior clickstream activity = 4 points
- Prior customer preferences = 2 points
- Demographic/lifestyle indicators = 1 point.
What's most important, of course, is to use the data you have in a positive way to benefit your customers. Communicate your vision for using customer data in a positive way to your leadership team, and you’ll be fine.