‘Follow your own lamp’

This famous quotation from Buddha is as pertinent in today’s marketing world as it was in India in the 5th Century BCE.

We marketers get so much advice about how to go about our marketing from companies like the distinguished McKinsey down to blogs on LinkedIn that we need at times to take a step sideways and consider what our own lamp is telling us.

My personal experience from being at the receiving end of marketing communications is that thousands of them often merge into a uniform blur, with very little to take away at the end.

This has been caused by so many marketers not following their own lamps, but rather slavishly following the paths that have been specified for them by the great marketing consensus.

One of our clients called Muck Munchers sells bacteria that you can put down your loo if you want to keep a clean flowing septic tank. They have never failed to ‘follow their own lamp’, and their business is growing at an admirable rate.

Read their whole quirky blog here: Muck Munchers Blog

A large part of a marketer’s individuality must certainly be expressed by the creativity they put into their advertising content. However we should not forget that there is also room for considerable creativity in the way we use our technology.

Let me provide a few examples:

– Customers like to be recognised for what they really are, rather than what they have done in the last five seconds on your website; so a dormant customer who after a long absence suddenly appears would be delighted by a ‘welcome back Mr Smith, and we have been saving something special for you’.

– A small amount of customer analysis can tell us who is and who is not a bargain hunter, so why not restrict your sales catalogues to those who are, and leave the rest to carry on happily paying the full price?

– Customers can be frustrated by going right through your website to find the one item they want, only to be told that it’s out of stock; so browsers who leave your website soon after finding this out will be delighted by an email telling them that if it’s not too late the item is now available.

– And there are triggers when it comes to automating communications. Think garden center; the original purchase of a plant could be followed up by plants that go well with the original purchase with weeding tools, with pest control and even with appropriate winter plant protection.

So please do keep your own lamp lit, and don’t feel the need to follow the herd!

And do come and talk to us if you want to discuss how to use marketing technology creatively.

 


UniFida logo

UniFida is the trading name of Marketing Planning Services Ltd, a London based technology and data science company set up in 2014. Our overall aim is to help organisations build more customer value at less marketing cost.

Our technology focus has been to develop UniFida. Our data science business comes both from existing users of UniFida, and from clients looking to us to solve their more complex data related marketing questions.

Marketing is changing at an explosive speed, and our ambition is to help our clients stay empowered and ahead in this challenging environment.


What is actually meant by automating customer marketing?

What do people actually mean when they talk about automating customer marketing?

By ignoring the vast ‘black holes’ of programmatic, social, and other forms of adtech used to recruit customers, we can focus in this paper on automating marketing to existing customers.

This usually happens through three main channels; website, email and direct mail. However, what we would like to consider is not the channel used for the delivery process, but how the automation that applies to that should be set up.

To us automation can normally be applied either when a; a customer event takes place and you want to respond to that trigger, or b; when a campaign is being sent out to large numbers of customers to whom you want to deliver relevant communications that will make a return. In plain English, trigger or batch campaigns.

When planning trigger campaign automation there are always two perspectives to consider; which customer group or segment are we expecting to involve, and what actual trigger should initiate the communication.

When thinking about customer segments, it makes sense to first plan for the different stages in the customer life-cycle. This would be from recruitment to attrition, but also to look at the customers’ context. Are they for instance browsing, enquiring, or having just made their purchase?

Here are some of the segments we like to use:

Having analysed the segments to use, the next step is to plan the triggers that apply to them. Here some examples:

Clearly creativity needs to run alongside automation to spot these trigger opportunities, and to provide a sufficiently interesting a response to increase customer propensity to purchase.

Automating batch campaigns is however a very different type of activity, as in effect the marketer is blind to what the customer is actually doing. There is no pressing need to communicate at that point in time, but nevertheless sales must be generated.

For batch campaigns we like to use propensities as our alternative to triggers. Propensity models can for instance tell us the product category that an individual is most likely to purchase next. Whether they are at risk of attrition, if there is likely to be a return from sending them a catalogue, or if they are sensitive to price reductions and more likely to buy from a sale offer.

Just as with triggers, there are no limits to the propensity models that could be developed to score customers, but we have over time developed a short list of some that we find most helpful for batch customer marketing:

There is great value to be obtained from automating customer marketing, and as this paper will have shown, a successful outcome from it is as much a question of creativity in terms of how to go about it, as it is one of technology or data science. In fact, creativity, technology and data science need to work in combination for success.

If you would like to discuss partnering your creativity with our technology and data science please email to arrange a call.

 


UniFida logo

UniFida is the trading name of Marketing Planning Services Ltd, a London based technology and data science company set up in 2014. Our overall aim is to help organisations build more customer value at less marketing cost.

Our technology focus has been to develop UniFida. Our data science business comes both from existing users of UniFida, and from clients looking to us to solve their more complex data related marketing questions.

Marketing is changing at an explosive speed, and our ambition is to help our clients stay empowered and ahead in this challenging environment.


Global Segmentation

Hotel chain benchmarks the global market


The Situation

A global hotel company with close to 10% market share commissioned us to build a market segmentation to support their strategic planning in respect of acquisition and sales of hotels

The Client’s Business Goals

  • The overall goal was to understand how the distribution of their own hotels compared to the competition by region and city
  • This knowledge was to be more fine-tuned than simple chain or brand name recognition, and was to inform decisions about purchasing or disposing of hotels on a global basis
  • All substantial hotels around the world belonging to brands and chains (around 50,000) were to be individually allocated to a segment so that the capacity and locality of the competition could be studied in any geography

Our solution

  • The client already subscribed to a global hotel database with most of the 50,000 brand and chain hotels being identifiable
  • These were described in the database by a number of attributes including average room rates, location type, size, business and leisure mix, short or long stay etc.
  • We used clustering techniques to build the segmentation, putting hotels of a similar level and type together (whilst making allowances for different pricing levels in different parts of the globe)
  • The output was then transferred to a pivot table enabling the client to filter by location, segment, scale etc. in this way they had access to competition strengths and weaknesses in any part of the globe

Key benefits

  • The main benefit was better information with which to make decisions about acquisition and sales
  • However because of the way the data was held we were able to rank opportunities according to the scale of the opportunity to acquire, or because overcrowding providing recommendations to sell
  • The client was able to move away from comparisons based on brand presence and look more deeply into competition and opportunity based for instance in the number of rooms by level across all chains in relation to the size of the city in question.

Contact us if you would like us to help your business.


UniFida logo

UniFida is the trading name of Marketing Planning Services Ltd, a London based technology and data science company set up in 2014. Our overall aim is to help organisations build more customer value at less marketing cost.

Our technology focus has been to develop UniFida. Our data science business comes both from existing users of UniFida, and from clients looking to us to solve their more complex data related marketing questions.

Marketing is changing at an explosive speed, and our ambition is to help our clients stay empowered and ahead in this challenging environment.