Monthly Archives: May 2009

Hacking the RFM Model

The following is from the May 2009 Drilling Down Newsletter.  Got a question about Customer Measurement, Management, Valuation, Retention, Loyalty, Defection?  Just ask your question.  Also, feel free to leave a comment. 

Want to see the answers to previous questions?  Here’s the blog archive; the pre-blog newsletter archives are here.

Q:  First of all thank you for your help.  I have some questions I would be pleased if you answer them for me.

A:  No problem!

Q:  1. RFM analysis – is it possible to use some other ranking technique rather than quintiles? Using quintiles for bigger databases will cause many tied values, isn’t it a problem?

A:  Sure, you can use it any way it works best for you.  There is no “magic” behind quintiles, you can use deciles or whatever works best. It’s the idea of ranking by Recency, Frequency, and Value that is the key concept in the model.

I’ve seen dozens and perhaps hundreds of variations on the core RFM model, depending on how you classify a “variation”.  One change that’s common is changing the scaling, as you mention above, to accommodate the size of the database.  Smaller databases use quartiles or even tertiles.  Larger databases, choose the ordered distribution that meets the need.

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eMetrics “ShootOuts” We’d Like to See

I was in Vancouver for a presentation to CAUCE [kay-yoose, thanks Raquel] and was able to grab a quick dinner with fellow WAA BaseCamp stakeholders Andrea Hadley, Raquel Collins, and Braden HoeppnerWe’re rolling out a new 2-day format for BaseCamp and got to talking about web analytics education in general. 

We started talking audience segmentation and content at the eMetrics Summit, and specifically the “shootout” format from the old days.  You know, 10 vendors on the stage at the same time taking questions from the audience.  Those sessions were both educational and hilarious at the same time, as the vendors side-swiped each other on topics like accuracy, how visitors are counted, cookie structures, and so forth.

But that was back when the technology was in flux, and now that issue has settled down a lot.  Braden brought up the concept of returning the “shootout format”, but more on the business side.  You know, get some practitioners, vendors, and consultants up on stage and have them thrash out stuff like:

1.  Attribution – does it really make sense to even bother with attribution at the impression / click level when there is often not a strong correlation to profit?  I mean, just because someone sees or clicks on an ad does not mean the ad had a positive effect; in fact, it may have had a negative effect.  Why not go straight to action or profit attribution, instead of using creative accounting?

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Got Discount Proneness?

Discount Proneness is what happens when you “teach” customers to expect discounts.  Over time, they won’t buy unless you send them a discount.  They wait for it, expect it.  Unraveling this behavior is a very painful process you do not want to experience.

The latest shiny object where Coupon Proneness comes into play is the “shopping cart recapture” program.  Mark my words, if it is not happening already, these programs are teaching customers to “Add to Cart” and then abandon it, waiting for an e-mail with a discount to “recapture” this sale – a sale that for many receiving the e-mail, would have taken place anyway. 

The best way to measure this effect is to use a Control Group.

When I hear people talking about programs like this (for example, in the Yahoo analytics group) what I hear is “the faster you send the e-mail, the higher the response rate you get”.

That, my friends, is pretty much a guarantee that a majority of the people receiving that e-mail would have bought anyway.  Hold out a random sample of the population and prove it to yourself.  There is a best, most profitable time to send such an e-mail, and that time will be revealed to you using a controlled test.  The correct timing is almost certainly not within 24 or even 48 hours.

That is, if you care about Profits over Sales, and trust me, somebody at your company does.  They just have not told you yet!

When you give away margin you do not have to give away on a sale, that is a cost.  Unless you are including that cost in your campaign analysis, you are not reflecting the true financial nature of the campaigns you are doing.  If you are an analyst, that’s a problem.

If you are using cart recapture campaigns, please do a controlled test sooner rather than later.  Because once your customers have Discount Proneness, it will be very painful to fix.

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Measuring Social Media Value

The following is from the April 2009 Drilling Down Newsletter.  Got a question about Customer Measurement, Management, Valuation, Retention, Loyalty, Defection?  Just ask your question.  Also, feel free to leave a comment. 

Want to see the answers to previous questions?  Here’s the blog archive; the pre-blog newsletter archives are here.

Q:  I’m a social media consultant, facing the interesting challenges of measuring success, and wondered, what are your thoughts on social media measurement and life time value? The two seem to go together, but if anyone has thought about it, you would have.  Would love to know your thoughts.

A:  Just to be clear, the following is specifically about social for use as a Marketing platform, not as a utility or a way to keep in touch with people.  Interacting with other people can create a lot of value – emotional value for the participants.  There are obviously lots of great uses for social platforms and I’m sure there is more to come in that area.  The question is: does any of this make sense as “media”?

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