Tag Archives: RFM

Defining Behavioral Segments

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

Q: I purchased your book and have a few questions you can hopefully help me out with.

A: Thanks for that, and sure!

Q: We have 4 product lines and 2 of them are seasonal. i.e we have customers that year in year out purchase these items consistently but seasonally, for example, every spring and summer.   Then they are dormant for Fall and Winter.  Should I include these customers along with everyone else when doing an RFM segmentation?

A: Well, it kind of depends what you will using the RF(M) model for, what kinds of marketing programs will be activated by using the scores. If you know you have seasonal customers and their habit is to buy each year, AND you wish to aim retention or reactivation programs at them, I would be tempted to divide the customer base so that seasonal customers are their own segment.  Then run two RF(M)  models – one for the seasonals, and one for everyone else.

Q: If I include seasonal customers, and I run RFM say on a monthly basis, these seasonal customers will climb / fall drastically with time depending on the season, so it seems like it may complicate the scoring process.

A: Sure, and you could segment as I said above.  Or, you could run across a longer time frame, say across 2 – 3 years worth of data. This would “normalize” the two segments into one and take account of the seasonality in the scoring – perhaps be more representative of the business model.  However, the scores would become less sensitive due to the long time frame so the actions of customers less accurately predicted by the model.

Q: Can you provide me with some examples as to how segmentation is carried out?  Let’s say I being with RFM and all my customers are rated 5-5, 5-4, 4-5 etc.  What are the next steps, do we overlay with other characteristics like age, gender, etc?  Or are the 5-3 etc. our actual segments?

A: This goes back to what you want to use the RF(M) model for.  In the standard usage, each score will have roughly the same number of customers in it, those with higher scores will be more likely to respond to marketing and purchase, lower scores less likely.

Continue reading Defining Behavioral Segments

RFM versus LifeCycle Grids

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

Continue reading RFM versus LifeCycle Grids

Offline Engagement Modeling

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

Q: In our business (airline) – particularly on the loyalty side – we’ve been using both RFM as well as lifetime and current cumulative totals. For instance in our mileage program, we look at both lifetime miles earned and used as well as current balance.

Does that seem appropriate?

A: Well, I guess the question is appropriate for what purpose, what action are you driving to?

For example, if you were to divide metrics into “strategic” and “tactical”, meaning “for management / long-term planning” and “for campaigns / taking short-term action” then you get different answers.

Continue reading Offline Engagement Modeling