Use Traditional and Non-traditional Data In Your Models

Recency, frequency, and monetary data tend to drive success in modeling efforts. But what other sources should catalogers look at to achieve winning results?

During a session at List Day on Aug. 2, Erik Findeisen, CEO of direct marketing consultancy FC Data Services, outlined a few traditional and non-traditional sources catalogers should take advantage of when modeling their lists.

“In any asset of a database, mining and modeling is the key to making that data pop for you,” Findeisen said. “Demographic data is wonderful, but one of the most powerful aspects I’ve seen is transactional data.”

Findeisen noted that co-op database Abacus brought transactional data into the mix about a decade ago, but marketers are not always on the ball when it comes to how to take advantage of it. Many, he said, use it too much like RFM.

“What do you know about a customer when he bought a set of Calloway clubs for $1,200, re-subscribed to a golf magazine, and ordered checks with a golf ball on them?” Findeisen said. “He’s shown a transactional purchase as a golfer, as opposed to someone who just has an interest in golf.”

Other data sources Findeisen advises catalogers use when modeling their lists:

  • Lifecycle data: “It gets back to relevancy in the data, and lifecycle data is not being used as much as transactional and demographic,” he said. “If I have four children, and Joe has none, you’re going to want to talk to me in a different way than you talk to Joe.”
  • Attitudinal data: While demographics and lifecycle give you the “what,” attitudinal gives you the “why.” Findeisen said this can be leveraged by using follow-up e-mails, on-site surveys, customer feedback on the Website, and post-sale phone calls. He cited a large retail client that uses this to determine why consumers purchased a specific shirt over a similar blouse and a sweater, and it helped the retailer to drive the merchandise in the catalog.
  • Ethnic data: “There are not enough folks who are leveraging ethnic data, although everyone seems to be talking about it,” Findeisen said. So far, he said only the financial sector has been able to take advantage of it.
  • Online lead generation: “People have been poo-pooing online data as unreliable, but I think it is very reliable,” Findeisen said. “Is it as reliable as survey data? Maybe, but it’s still a different vehicle.” He said it is a great source because it is survey data driven by interests rather than information from public records.

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