Monthly Archives: August 2009

RFM versus LifeCycle Grids

The following is from the August 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 the excellent book!  I’m really excited about digging into our own customer data to see what we’ll learn.

A:  Thank you for the kind words!

Q:  However, when you’re creating the RF Scores, what is the standard timeframe you should use?  I have access to about 5 years worth of purchase data – should I create RF scores based on the last 5 years, 3 years, 2 years, 6 months?

Our sales are quite cyclical, so I think the baseline should probably be at least a year, and I’m considering doing two years.  It seems as though if I get too much larger than that, my results will be too watered down. 

I’m also planning on generating “historical” RF scores by filtering my data to reflect the purchases only up to a certain point.  So, to generate a Q1-09 score, I’d create it from sales data of Q1-07 through Q1-09.  The Q2-09 score would be from Q2-07 through Q2-09, etc.  Does this make sense?  It will allow us to see the changes that have been happening in our company even though we’re only just now looking at the data.  It will give me a picture of what it would have looked like, had I looked at it back then.

A:  I think you have accurately understood the situation and have the right approach!  This type of analysis is very sensitive to time frame.

There are really 2 broad types of customer analysis.  There is analysis for action in the present, a Tactical approach driving towards a “we should do this now” result, and the more Strategic analysis, which is informational and says “this is what we should have done then” and / or “this is why we should make these business changes”.  The shorter time frame is Tactical, the longer timeframe Strategic.

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Adoption and Abandonment

Out of the Wharton School we have a nice piece of behavioral research on the effect speed of Adoption has on longer-term commitment.  The article, The Long-term Downside of Overnight Success, describes research finding “the adoption velocity has a negative effect on the cumulative number of adopters”. 

This research dovetails nicely with a lot of the topics discussed here on the blog lately, so I thought I’d use it (with a nod to Godin’s post on Strategy vs. Tactics today) to provide some fodder for thought.

First, the importance of Psychology in Marketing.  So many of the “discoveries” arrived at through  brute force testing of Online Advertising are already well known in the greater discipline of Marketing through Psychology.  For more on this read “The Other 3P’s” and if you’d like to do something about lack of knowledge in this area, make sure to read this comment on source books.

Second, this research is a great example of isolating the true drivers of behavior.  The idea of looking at baby names to isolate the real behavior from “technology and other commercial effects” while including “symbolic meaning about identity” results in a broad, Strategic-level answer to the question, not a Tactical one. 

Why is this important?  It means the results can be applied across a host of different Marketing situations, rather than only a specific one. 

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