This is the last article in a series on e-mail marketing and list strategies by Katie Cole, Ph.D., vice president of research and analytics for Merkle|Quris, the e-mail marketing agency of Merkle.
In our five-step data optimization process, we’ve arrived at the final step: Data execution. Up until now, everything we’ve explored – gathering, processing, and examing our data – is only an academic exercise if we do not actually use our data in meaningful, practical and timely ways to improve our marketing programs. Data execution allows us to do just that.
To recap, we have covered four of the five data optimization steps:
- Data aggregation: Getting the required data together, mapped to your information needs, standardized, and in one place.
- Data augmentation: Filling in the gaps in your data – whether via statistically-derived proxies or overlays or primary research.
- Data processing: Making your data useful. In this stage, your data are effectively transferred and standardized.
- Data analysis: Making your data meaningful for a particular context and application.
With data execution, we aim to interpret and apply the results of our analyses in our customer communications. To effectively execute on our results, we optimize the data by aligning the best offer and channel with receptive customers. All the while, we will be working hand-in-hand with strategic program planners.
Use the following framework to interpret the results of analyses and help you leverage your findings:
- Interpret or learn who your customers are and what they value based on a careful analyses of historical responses and primary research. The interpretations are based on profiles, segmentation models, profitability analysis, and customer lifetime value scores that result from analyses. Review the results with your creative and programming experts to derive meaningful applications and put this knowledge to use in your marketing programs.
- Identify or design products and services that deliver that desired value. Using product or service affinity modeling, primary research into preferred attributes, pricing and bundling strategies, and loyalty program development, you can develop and/or offer the products and services that your customers desire.
- Select the most receptive customers based on value, needs, and contributions. Targeting and scoring allows you to align consumer groups with the relevant messages and offers, measure market potential, spot those who are in danger of attrition, and identify candidates for selective loyalty marketing.
- Design tactics that are likely to elicit the targeted or desired consumer responses. Again, review the results of analyses with your creative and programming experts to custom-design marketing tactics that will get you the best responses. When based on analyses, your programs and tactics will be optimized across channels, products, and customers. These efforts will make more personalized communications, more effective timing, and more appropriate contact frequency possible.
- Develop strategic planning and ongoing performance measurement. Benchmark current performance for campaign testing and tracking, and analyze performance trends. Conduct primary research into your customer’s attitudes, how they use your products, and their overall satisfaction. You can then use these findings to help your programs expand and evolve.
To ensure that you have your finger on the pulse of your consumers’ needs and values, you should suppliment the data execution phase with a comprehensive and iterative testing program. Multivariate testing programs allow you to investigate the cause-and-effect relationship between your carefully designed tactics and how consumers respond to them – and support the ability to effectively determine the most important or relevant tactics. This information can help you determine the best next steps to economically and efficiently develop and refine your marketing programs.
Parts one through four of Kaie Cole’s five-part series are:
Katie Cole, Ph.D, is vice president of research and analytics for Denver-based Merkle|Quris, the e-mail marketing agency of Merkle.