By Sam Koslowsky
The Uses and Abuses of Cross Tabs
The old timers among us remember the days when the primary tool for analysis was the trusted cross tab. While many of us have abandoned this approach for more complex analyses, and assigned it to extinction, researchers still employ this simple and appropriate method to provide key statistics and valuable insight. With the emergence of spreadsheets as a managerial tool, cross tabs became more readily available. For those marketers not familiar with the term "cross tab," a simple example, shown in Table 1, will demonstrate that this technique is used widely in one way or another most every working day.
Table 1 summarizes the results of a credit card solicitation by gender. Notice the rows and columns, and associated values in each of the cells. This is the hallmark of a cross tab. It is easy to see why spreadsheets made this sort of basic analysis quite popular.
This particular marketing campaign provided its audience with a no-annual-fee card and very competitive interest rates. With a 2.8 percent response rate for females, versus a 2.14 percent for males, management determined that the higher level of female responsiveness warranted future such programs targeted to women.
While this example provided satisfactory results, the credit grantor also tested another campaign that offered a fee-based product, coupled with a generous rewards program. The results in cross tab format appear in Table 2.
Here, too, the analysis was segmented by gender, and once again women appeared to outperform their male counterparts. The credit grantor again concluded that females perform better, and that they should be targeted for future such programs. Based on these two programs, management decided to allocate more funding for mailings intended for women, and to de-emphasize or, perhaps, even abandon communication to men.