Data

Database: An Ensemble of Models
January 1, 2007

Data miners continually search for ways to improve the predictive accuracy of their marketing models. During the last few years, there have been improvements in the technology tools available that do just that. Additionally, new data sources periodically are introduced that further enhance the modeling result. Processes for employing data and tools have progressed, as well. One approach frequently overlooked by analysts involves developing a series of models, and then combining their outcomes to improve the overall prediction. Creating a set of models can be accomplished in a variety of ways, which I’ll explain later. But first, a little background. When individuals make decisions,

Nuts & Bolts: Book Club
January 1, 2007

“It is impossible to effectively innovate—or even manage—a process that you don’t understand in detail,” writes database expert Arthur Middleton Hughes in the foreword to fellow database authority and KnowledgeBase Marketing colleague Richard Tooker’s “The Business of Database Marketing” (RACOM Communications, 2006). He is paraphrasing one of the many truisms Tooker extols throughout the book, but he might as well be summarizing the publication’s raison d’être. As Tooker explains in his preface, the goal of this book is to provide a holistic explanation of how all the pieces of the database marketing process fit together from a business perspective—not just an overview of technology

Segmentation Strategies for B-to-B Marketing
December 20, 2006

In B-to-B marketing, relationships can be complex. Some contacts buy, while other contacts only influence a purchase decision. Sales often take months to complete, and must go through a multiple step process. Individuals work in teams at a company location, and that location may be part of a larger corporation. Useful and necessary marketing and communication efforts are required to support the entire selling process, but many of those communications cannot be tracked on their own. They might be directed at influencers, or might occur very early in a selling process that may or may not be complete months later. Faced with such complexity, B-to-B

Segmentation Strategies for B-to-B Marketing
December 20, 2006

Why building and using a House File Inventory is the key to B-to-B data-driven marketing success In B-to-B marketing, relationships can be complex. Some contacts buy, while other contacts only influence a purchase decision. Sales often take months to complete, and must go through a many step process. Individuals work in teams at a company location, and that location may be part of a larger corporation. Useful and necessary marketing and communication efforts are required to support the entire selling process, but many of those communications cannot be tracked on their own. They might be directed at influencers, or might occur very early in a

Mining for Creative Ideas
December 1, 2006

Anyone familiar with database marketing is aware of the cultural divide between creative types and data types. It’s as if the two groups speak a different language. While maximum response and ROI are shared goals, how the two groups go about understanding the audience to craft campaigns that achieve these goals often is completely different. Data analysis typically is targeted around one goal: selecting the “best” names, the names that will bring the highest response. Different audience segments may be selected, but in the end, a name either is selected or it’s not. The challenge is left for the creative specialists to fit the

Privacy: What Do You Prefer?
October 1, 2006

When you go to Starbucks, you order a half-caf latte, skim milk, extra foam. The man behind you asks for a cappuccino with soy milk and a sprinkle of cinnamon. The woman behind him? Coffee, black. Starbucks can handle all these preferences—and even better, once you start becoming a regular customer, the baristas will know what you want before you reach the counter, and will be able to suggest that a new blueberry scone would go great with that latte. As such, Starbucks and other customer-minded companies have trained consumers to expect vendors’ offerings to be customized to their wants and needs. That’s where

A Better Mousetrap
October 1, 2006

A conventional response model technique, such as logistic regression, predicts probabilities by looking at purchase pattern in relation to explanatory elements like historic transaction, demographics and geographics. Customers therefore can be scored in terms of likelihood projection, which allows direct marketers to focus on top-ranked niches and thus raise marketing ROI. This is what every firm dreams of: Mail less and mail smart. But does this type of model truly address your business issue—measuring a specific campaign and boosting its impact in the next drop? In a real-world environment, customer behaviors are most likely driven by multiple campaigns through different channels, such as direct mail,

A Wish List for Database Marketers
September 27, 2006

Segmentation, modeling, campaign analysis, product development, strategy, creative execution … Customer data informs some of the most important aspects of a direct marketing program. And the more robust a database is, the better all those aspects will be. After all, if you want to get the most out of your database, you have to put the right stuff into it. So what kind of data should you be capturing? According to database expert Pegg Nadler, proprietor of consultancy Pegg Nadler Associates Inc., there are three main types of data that should be on every marketer’s data wish list: • All points of customer contact. “You

A Mini Gift Guide With Lots of Impact
September 14, 2006

Ever run short of great gift ideas? Things Remembered, the Cleveland-based personalized gift retailer, sure doesn’t. The company’s direct mail pieces range from postcards showcasing two or three items to catalogs that feature page after page of gifts for all occasions. During this past graduation season, the company mailed a piece that offered both the convenience of small scale with the product selection of a mini catalog. Mailed in June, the six-page, 8-3⁄4˝ x 5-1⁄4˝ 2006 Grad Gift Guide is slim, but features dozens of items, from clocks and desk accessories to jewelry and photo frames (Archive code #910-175003-0606A). The package, with images of

The New Vanguard
September 9, 2006

Every industry has its luminaries—pioneers whose names become synonymous with the techniques or products they developed. Ed Burnett, Ralph Lane Polk II, Richard Benson, John Caples, Leon L. Bean, Lillian Vernon, Jeff Bezos and, of course, Lester Wunderman come to mind. But not every trailblazer operates in the white-hot spotlight. Many conduct brilliant work day after day for their companies in relative anonymity. That is, until Target Marketing decided to nose around and find those professionals who are setting new standards for direct marketing performance. With the help of our Editorial Advisory Board and other key industry figures, we’ve selected eight exceptional direct marketers who