Elderhostel's Mei Fulton Discusses the Nonprofit's Data Mart
TM: How have the hosted database, improved customer segmentation models and analytics improved Elderhostel's efficiency and resource allocation?
MF: ... In terms of segmentation, with this new solution, with our new marketing database platform, where we have a [business impact] tool and a campaign management tool that sits on top of it, we're able to refine our segmentation scheme more finely. ... So, on a couple of fronts: because we were able to fine-tune our best customers to market to and also to hone in the targeting, with this economy we had to make some decisions on our mailing campaign, reduce our mailing costs. ... And then, with these economics, what we've done is really try to take a step back, really try to understand from a P&L perspective who are the best customers and also who we call our nonparticipants to mail to, to be able to get the movement that we need to support the business model. So, as a result, we have seen more than a 20 percent lift, in both response and from a P&L-per-contact perspective, and that's a combination of being able to target more effectively and really kind of trim the fat. ...
TM: Is this data mart part of an overall plan, perhaps the building block for a marketing dashboard, to streamline Elderhostel's direct marketing efforts?
MF: I would say the data mart is more of a central nervous system for database marketing because you really need the hub and spoke for some foundation to start gaining more intelligence to develop more strategic and science-based marketing strategy.
TM: Considering Elderhostel advanced from a one-channel marketing strategy—direct mail—to an approach involving a call center, print, e-mail, Web and affiliate marketing, how will the data mart enable Elderhostel to expand its direct marketing efforts?
MF: ... Because it's the integration of the offline sales information, the Web data, the e-mail data, profile data that we have; it's really putting those pieces in one area where you can access all of the information together. ... Our vision always is to cross-pollinate because our customer base is a little unique. ... I mean, look at the demographics. So it's difficult to say, "Yes. Everyone's on the Web now." Does that mean everyone's going to be purchasing on the Web? Not necessarily, in our case.