Monthly Archives: October 2023

Match Cost of Effort with Value of the Customer

Jim answers questions from fellow Drillers

Topic Overview

Hi again folks, Jim Novo here.

Sure, you can do a ton of analysis and find out all kinds of cool things about the behavior of your customers. But what about implementation, how do you execute on all this info? There are some universal rules, and one of them is to match up cost of effort to customer value. That way the ROI monsters in Finance will always be giving you a smile. Ready for the Drillin’ ?


Q: My boss (VP of phone sales) is really looking to try out some new ideas and RFM is one he has latched onto.  He actually has explored this concept for a few years but never acted upon it.  Anyway, he just purchased your book and after finding that he did not have time to read it he gave it to me.  My job was to read and understand at a high level and to lead a discussion with the marketing group to get them excited about the concept.  I am a finance guy by trade so this concept was very interesting.

A: That’s funny, the people who really “get it” the most are finance people and IT people, because it is kind of “black and white,” very numbers driven.  Stuff either works or it doesn’t – did you make money or not?  ROI is the name of the game.

Q: Obviously I either did not do a good enough job explaining RFM, Latency, tripwires, etc. or they just are unwilling to have someone from their team tackle the concept.  The question they always wanted answered was “We don’t know why the customer behaved as they did.  Thus a sales call needs to be made not a marketing campaign.

A: “Why” is not really the issue; defection is happening.  Depending on the biz, a sales call might be exactly what is needed.  These models are always about allocation, putting scarce resources to the highest and best use.  Per customer, sales calls are expensive; direct mail is not, email even less so.  If you have a formal “wall” between sales and marketing, usually the “whose responsibility is it” issue is decided by “degree of pain” e.g. how valuable is the customer to the business overall?

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