Charlotte, N.C.

Heather Fletcher is senior content editor with Target Marketing.

Jason Blackhurst wants every BankAmeriDeals experience to feel as good as a first date. That's the premise behind one of Bank of America's (BofA) latest offerings to its customers, says Blackhurst, the bank's SVP and e-commerce product executive. BankAmeriDeals uses data in bank customers' accounts to find out what they buy, then partners with merchants to offer them deals on products and services—much like loyalty programs, but directly linked to their bank debit cards.

Not that LendingTree employees were walking around with pocket protectors, yakking about the Charlotte, N.C.-based online loan offer aggregator's revolutionary mortgage calculators. But it was time to rebrand and add some Web tools that would appeal to more than sure-bet, established Jane and Joe Homeowner. So the company that's spent a decade advising consumers on mortgages went in search of a useful, easy-to-use personal financial planning and advice tool for its site.

Most companies understand the value of retaining a customer relationship versus the cost associated with replacing it. But many still struggle with attrition issues. Why? Because organizations cannot prevent customer attrition if you are unable to define, detect or, even better, predict it. 

Why? Everyone who’s ever been dumped wants the answer. Many never know the reason. But companies that use dashboards as a retention tool are not only finding out why; they’re figuring out when their beloved customers are showing signs of leaving so they can take the necessary steps to successfully woo them once again.

Direct marketers fear cutting costs too deep and impacting the ability to generate revenue, forgoing potential acquisition, losing market share, or just damaging the franchise or customer relationships. Regarding direct mail spend, marketers can do a number of things to cut costs and increase ROI while minimizing the impact on overall revenue and key customer acquisition and retention metrics.

Using the patience that comes with age, Boston-based travel organization Elderhostel knew it could greatly improve efficiency by adding a data mart to its direct marketing strategy. Beginning implementation in September 2006, the 34-year-old nonprofit that provides educational travel opportunities to the 55 and older crowd brought the data mart live in May 2007.

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