Tag Archives: Marketing thru Operations

RFM and Customer LifeCycles

Jim answers questions from fellow Drillers
(More questions with answers here, Work Overview here, Index of concepts here)

Topic Overview

Hi again folks, Jim Novo here.

Today we have a bit of confusion between RFM modeling and tracking Customer Lifecycles. Each has benefits and downsides, but the most important idea is to make sure you know what each is best at. Make sense? Let’s do the Drillin’ …


Q:  I have a small sampling of the RFM scores that correspond to the various lifecycle stages.  For instance, 111 & 112 correspond to the acquisition stage, 333 & 443 to the growth stage, etc.  However, I’m looking for a complete listing of all 125 possible RFM scores and their corresponding lifecycle stages.

Can you please send this my way?

A: Wow, I certainly hope you didn’t get this idea from me; if you did, I have done a terrible job of explaining something somewhere. I would be very interested in the source of this idea, that a LifeCycle stage can correspond to a single RFM code or score.

An RFM code or score is the ranking of a single customer against all other customers for likelihood to respond and future value at a specific point in time. High scores equal high future value; low scores equal low future value.

A single RFM score represents this ranking at a fixed point in time – the day the scores were created. There is no “cycle,” which implies “over time,” inherent in an RFM code. Only if you knew the previous RFM code or sequence of codes could you imply a “LifeCycle stage”. This is, of course, what my book is about – using a modified version of RFM to track and profitably act on customer LifeCycle behavior. If you know the LifeCycle, you can predict behavior. If you can predict behavior, you can dramatically improve marketing ROI.

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The Cost of Queuing Customers

Jim answers questions from fellow Drillers
(More questions with answers here, Work Overview here, Index of concepts here)

Topic Overview

Hi again folks, Jim Novo here.

If customers have to “wait” for service, does the inconvenience / possible frustration impact their value? Great question; problem is, most businesses don’t know how to answer it in a way that will be meaningful to the value of the business. You know our Drillers though, they’ll get about it with actionable results in mind. On to the Drillin’!


Q:  Are you familiar with (or can you refer me to someone who is familiar with) customer satisfaction around queuing up for service?

A:  This is a Frequently Asked Question for sure, and not one there is a lot of statistically believable data on…at least that people are willing to release.  Kind of a sensitive subject, as you might think…

Q:  I work for a large bank.  We have perceived queuing problems in some of our branches – generally due to layout restrictions. I say perceived because although a queue is long, it moves fairly quickly with the actual wait time to see a teller often less than 5 minutes (considered at par with our competition). 

However, customers grumble when they walk into the branch and see the line and continue to grumble out loud until they reach the teller  and then continue to communicate their dissatisfaction to the teller.  Do you know if any work has been done in this area with other large companies that tend to have long queues (like airline ticket counters, large retailers)?

Thanking you in advance for your response.

A:  I think this issue can be an illusion; let me tell you what I mean. 

For e-commerce, somebody like Gartner does a survey that says people hate shipping charges, and every web site kicks in “free shipping.”  Guess what? People have always hated shipping charges since 1850 when the catalog business started.  And why not?  It looks like extra cost to the customer.  But if you run your business correctly, you price with shipping in mind and manage costs so that you still make a profit.

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Free / Pay Web Site Optimization

Jim answers questions from fellow Drillers
(More questions with answers here, Work Overview here, Index of concepts here)

Topic Overview

Hi again folks, Jim Novo here.

How do we make money on a content site? Free? Pay? Some combination of both? There’s been a lot of guessing and testing by the big media guys on how to work this, but how do the the small segments / little guys make this work, what can be measured to help? What about newer platforms like Substack, how do you measure optimization? On with the Drillin’ …


Jim’s Note: If you don’t know what Recency and Frequency are they are explained here, and RFM is covered here.  “Intensity” is Views per Session, in this case a “proxy” for visitor value.

Q: Hi Jim,

Should we use:

RFI – Recency, Frequency, Intensity
RFM – Recency, Frequency, and Monetary
or
RF – Recency, Frequency

to measure visitor value, and what should these terms ideally mean?  Total Sessions, Total page views, etc.  Also, when you measure Frequency, do you only include the Frequency during a specific period of time (i.e. one month, or one week), or do you include total lifetime activity per user?

A: On the advertising side of the business, I think the page views/session stat is probably the best to use.  The reality of the ad-based business is it doesn’t matter if they come back, you are selling impressions, not people.  I don’t think you have to overcomplicate it with formulas like RF or RFM, because you are primarily dealing with audiences, not individuals.  RF and RFM are about predicting if individuals will come back.

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