Category Archives: Customer Experience

Norms of Reciprocity

Social Marketing Doesn’t Rely on Social Media

Do you believe human beings share certain fundamental traits that define “being human”?

If so, do you believe that human beings tend to behave in certain ways under certain circumstances?

If so, do you then believe since human behavior has these tendencies, it can often be predicted?

If so, then do you think perhaps the study of Psychology and Sociology might provide you some clues to creating successful businesses, campaigns, products, and services?  While your friends and competitors are all iterating their way into oblivion?

On the web, time and time again, we see the same themes repeating.  Yet with each introduction of a new technology, these themes tend to be treated like a new discovery, even though the theme has been well established in the past.

Norms of Reciprocity is a constant human theme.  You may know the expression of these norms as “Sharing”.  Web old timers will probably recognize this idea as “Give, then Take” from the I-Sales discussion list as early as 1995.  In various forms, this theme goes back to the beginning of human history, all the way back to the handshake and other greeting gestures.  This same theme is embedded in countless Religions all over the world: “Do onto others as you would wish them do onto you”.  At least a couple centuries old, this idea.

Norms of Reciprocity simply means this: When you do something nice for a human being, help them in some way, this human tends to feel Gratitude towards “the doer” and tends to do something nice back.  Gratitude drives the desire to Reciprocate, because it’s just what humans do, it’s normal, a “norm”.

Norms of Reciprocity.

Continue reading Norms of Reciprocity

Share:  twittergoogle_plusredditlinkedintumblrmail


Follow:  twitterlinkedinrss

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.

Continue reading Hacking the RFM Model

Share:  twittergoogle_plusredditlinkedintumblrmail


Follow:  twitterlinkedinrss

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.

Continue reading Got Discount Proneness?

Share:  twittergoogle_plusredditlinkedintumblrmail


Follow:  twitterlinkedinrss

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”?

Continue reading Measuring Social Media Value

Share:  twittergoogle_plusredditlinkedintumblrmail


Follow:  twitterlinkedinrss

Off the Marketing Richter Scale

Man, what a month in Marketing land.

First, you have one of the largest Ad Agencies in the world admitting their business model is broken, because agencies are not in charge of the fundamentals of Branding – service, innovation, engagement, and execution.  I would add the same thing could often be said of the client side; MarCom people spend way too much time on “Com” and not enough on “Mar” – is it time for a realignment?

Then, in an even more spectacularly unexpected move, you have C-Level folks at 2 gargantuan Advertising Agencies (though both part of WPP) co-writing an article declaring that Brand and Response are the Same.  Here’s the opener: “the value that brands bring to a company’s total business value is exaggerated.”

Holy Branding Batman, that’s one heck of a thing to say for an Ad Agency, know what I mean?  But they are absolutely right, the nature of a Brand has changed, this ain’t the 1960’s.

This is how they get to “the singularity”:

“What was once sales is now enhancing the brand expe­rience, because through direct marketing technology and strategies, a brand can reinforce its ability to listen, customize and learn from the consumer. This is not just direct marketing, its direct engagement with every potential customer, sometimes at the moment they’re introduced to the brand.  In fact, in a world of compressed consumer decision-making, direct response is now a potent form of brand­ing.”

I love it when you talk that way.

Let’s be clear on this.

Continue reading Off the Marketing Richter Scale

Share:  twittergoogle_plusredditlinkedintumblrmail


Follow:  twitterlinkedinrss

Best Seller Gone Bad

Electronic keyboards were expensive in the 80’s and early 90’s, especially good ones.  Then came Casio, and the whole business changed.  At HSN, we loved the electronic keyboard business.

The category was made for TV shopping – the demonstrations were killer, and with all the new-fangled automation on board, “anybody can play the keyboard”.  In HSN language, “keyboards screamed” and you always got a call center “whoosh” – the sound you hear when inbound calls ramp from 100 to 1000 in 30 seconds.

So I’m talking with the keys merchant, and he says they’re having a supply disruption, and there will be challenges keeping the keys in stock because they sell so well.  This is a problem for me, because I’m publishing the monthly customer (offline) magazine and we’ve got some layouts and articles on the product.

I ask for a simple merchandising run on the SKUs to get a feeling for product in pipeline, to see if maybe I have to kill the spread.  We’ve sold 45,000 of the little beggars, which is pretty good for (what was then) a $500+ item.  It averages about $1,000 a minute in Margin, which is great versus network overhead cost of $300 per minute.

Problem is, we’ve only ever purchased 17,000 of them.

Continue reading Best Seller Gone Bad

Share:  twittergoogle_plusredditlinkedintumblrmail


Follow:  twitterlinkedinrss

SEO for Cable TV

Riffing off a great post by George on marketing measurement, here’s a very specific example of how Marketers have to think differently when they are dealing with interactive environments, from my days at HSN.

We spent about 5 years and $100 million dollars trying to prove offline media would drive new customer acquisition and sales.  We tried everything.  Billboards.  TV.  Radio.  Newspapers.  TV Guides – local, national, and cable.  Flyers,  Shoppers, FSI’s.  Spot cable.  All of it, in just about every combination you can think of.

Each time we did these tests, we set up control markets and looked for Incremental sales in the media markets versus those with no media, based on revenue per household.  We found incremental sales in just about every case. 

The problem was this: even though the media created incremental sales, these sales were never enough to pay back the media on a net basis, meaning (roughly) (Gross Margin – Campaign Cost) – Variable Overhead was negative – even when you took into account the LifeTime Value of a new customer.  Even when you looked at the test markets versus control 3 months, 6 months, and 12 months later, for those who might be thinking about “Brand” or “Awareness”.

If you’re thinking perhaps the campaigns were weak or light on exposure, I offer you this: when the campaigns included coupons, the redemptions were absolutely huge.  That’s good, right?

Continue reading SEO for Cable TV

Share:  twittergoogle_plusredditlinkedintumblrmail


Follow:  twitterlinkedinrss

Good Time for Marketing (Re)Alignment

What’s Marketing Alignment?  Search Google for this phrase and you will find a lot of discussion on aligning Marketing with Sales, the old B2B chestnut.  I’m not going in that direction.

I’m talking about making sure all the Operational interfaces to the customer have Marketing input, that the messaging and interactions with customers reflect the Marketing Strategy.

Marketing Alignment is making sure Marketing as a discipline is always facilitating Demand Fulfillment across the entire enterprise.  If Management is looking for a “big idea” during these times of change, a new way to approach the business as opposed to simply cutting budgets, Marketing Alignment just might be the ticket.

This Marketing Alignment issue can be a particularly important for growth companies.  When you started out, it was all about the customer – when there was less than 10 of them.  Now that you have 1,000 or 100,000 customers, you have probably created processes, procedures, and goals that unintentionally create barriers to closing new customers and fostering repeat business.

Here’s the basic argument for the Marketing Alignment idea:

Continue reading Good Time for Marketing (Re)Alignment

Share:  twittergoogle_plusredditlinkedintumblrmail


Follow:  twitterlinkedinrss

Relationship Marketing Economics

Just opened up a carton from a manufacturer we use in the Lab Store.  Every unit inside looks like this:

Bad nozzle

Here’s your challenge:

Would anybody in your business recognize this as a problem?  Or would they just shrug and transfer the item to the picking racks?

In other words, finding this, would you or an employee:

1.  Ship to the customer as is, let the customer figure it out

2.  Cut the nozzle off so customer doesn’t have to even think about it, doesn’t have to send you e-mail or call asking about it

Your answer to this question depends on:

1.  How customer-centric you / your org really is

2.  How much you understand about the financials of your business

Continue reading Relationship Marketing Economics

Share:  twittergoogle_plusredditlinkedintumblrmail


Follow:  twitterlinkedinrss