B-to-B: On the Right Track
“Suppose that company XYZ sent two catalogs to a customer, both with open order curves, and also sent an e-mail offering a discount on a certain product. Additionally, that e-mail was sent more recently and its order curve is still open,” Wojtalik explains. “If a customer clicks on the e-mail and purchases the specific product advertised, the e-mail may possibly receive 65 percent out of 100 percent [credit for] the order, with the most recent catalog receiving 30 percent and the older catalog receiving 5 percent. But if that same customer came in through branded search and purchased a product from the last catalog, the weights may be shifted around entirely,” she says.
Sometimes B-to-B marketers choose not to focus on tracking how a promotion performs, but instead choose to focus on how customers who have been contacted through a special strategy behave. One of the most common tools to measure the incremental value of a promotion is to create a “hold out” group that doesn’t get the promotion and compare its purchasing behavior with that of a group that received the promotion.
Direct marketing consultant George Woodward describes how he used this method to obtain important information about his master catalog: “We were trying to get our hands around the effect of a big Buyer’s Guide to mid-level customers, knowing that the source code on the orders were not completely indicative of the source of the order and hence the success of that book,” he explains. “So, over a six-month period, we gave one group of customers six books, including a Buyer’s Guide, and another group six books, with the Buyer’s Guide being replaced by a much smaller book.
“As it turned out, giving these mid-level customers the much more expensive Buyer’s Guide was not giving us an increase in orders, tracked at the customer level, sufficient to justify the increase in marketing spending.” This same technique also can be applied to determine the value of different promotions or even the frequency of promotional contact.