Tag Archive for customer list

Generate Sales Fast

If you’re looking for a reliable way to bring in revenue, the best place to start is by contacting your best customers.

Start by Segmenting Your Customer List

Your best customers are the most likely to purchase. Try dividing by sales or average order size. Analyzing your customers will identify strategic breaking points between groups. When you sort your customers’ sales activity, from highest to lowest and cumulate sales and calculate percentage of total sales, you may be surprised. The top customers will reliably respond to your offers.

Let Customers Know You Miss Them

We Miss You

“We Miss You” offers

Just because someone cancelled last year, or you have not heard from them in a while, doesn’t mean the sale is gone forever. Mail a “We want you back” offer. It will produce more sales than cold prospecting letters.

The 40-40-20 Rule

Ed Mayer is credited with stating the idea that direct marketing success is attributed to:

40% List

40% Offer

20% Everything Else

As we all optimistically look forward and consider fresh marketing approaches, how can we help you?

  • Is it time to append your customer list with more details that will give you more accurate information to select new prospective customers?
  • Can we do some research for you to help you select the best possible list to meet your needs?
  • Do you have a new idea about an offer and want to ask for another opinion?
  • Are all the details for your offer and everything else clear?

Get more from Customer Data

DMNews recently talked with experts about the best ways to combine and leverage customer data.

Elissa Tomasetti, VP of marketing, Financial Times, suggested that creating a single view of your customer will allow for better targeting.

Sal Pecoraro, VP of database marketing solutions, Infogroup, advised looking for trends in behavior to refine follow-up with customers.

Dino Michetti, GM and VP of client services, Epsilon, reminded marketers that current technology and innovation allow for real-time marketing and better data automation.

Creating More Value in the Mail

DMNews published a story about trends in marketing campaigns that stress customers’ ideas of “value”.

US consumer spending grew at the fastest rate in three years during the first quarter of 2010, according to figures from the Commerce Department. Overall spending grew 3.6%, with spending on durable goods increasing 11.3%. For nondurable goods, the increase was 3.9% and for services, 2.4%. These figures suggest the worst of the recession may be over, but it doesn’t paint a clear picture of what the consumer will do next.

The power of putting money back in consumers’ wallets explains the growing popularity of coupons. NCH Marketing Services reports that coupon distribution rose 11% in 2009, while redemption rates have increased consistently over the past six quarters. According to a recent Nielsen report, direct mail is the second-fastest growing redemption method for coupons, posting a 69% jump in 2009.

Price promotions aren’t the only way to a consumer’s heart. Sprint does a good job providing value and relevance to consumers in its communications, including direct mail. Over the past year, the company has shifted its focus away from acquisition toward more loyalty- and customer retention-oriented efforts. There is so much more information about your customer base, so it is a lot easier to get relevant and meaningful. In February 2009, Sprint introduced a complimentary loyalty program for wireless customers and is promoting it through direct mail and e-mail. A mailed welcome package details the benefits of the program.

Determining your customer base’s definition of “value” will drive the right direct mail strategy.

The economy has made things tough for everyone but, in the end, mailing successfully means being able to tap into what’s going on in consumers’ minds. As marketers, we are responsible for giving customers what they want, and at this particular time, that means value.

A Data Rock Star?

This term got some attention in a few blogs last month. What exactly is a data rock star? A steward who understands both the complex intricacies of data management as well as the larger business challenge. A data rock star can provide guidance on both the IT and business side on how to make the data work for the business.

The author of “Data Quality From The Ground Up” suggested attributes and behaviors to further define and clarify a true data rock star.

  • Excellent communicator of business and IT concepts using common language
  • Ability to link information to business value
  • Seeks out and is receptive to advice and continuously provides the opportunity for others to provide it
  • Understands the link between clarifying expectations and how that will lead to success
  • Ability to engage and enthuse others, understands and considers body language, communication preferences, motivations and needs of others
  • Spots opportunities and takes advantage of them, especially in ways that others are unaware of
  • Pushes the boundaries in order to change things and does so in a way that others are unaware the boundary is being pushed
  • Exerts authority and uses it appropriately – all the while smiling and engaging others
  • Identifies key success measures from both business and IT perspective
  • Is well liked and respected – this will ensure access to resources, tools, other stakeholders, hidden information and will help pave the way through political and cultural roadblocks
  • Able to articulate solutions as practical and logical and tie them directly to group/organizational goals

The elevation of data experts and their importance to marketing and the entire organization is another reminder to keep working on your own database. Is there anything that we can do to help you with your customer list?

Empathy Improves Response

The Boston Globe reported that 62% of patients receiving intentionally fake treatment from friendly, empathetic doctors reported relief from their irritable bowel syndrome. This high number compared with 44% of a group that got the same fake treatment from impersonal, businesslike doctors.

Science is confirming that people respond much better to friendliness that demonstrates an understanding of their needs.

How can we help you translate this to your marketing? Do you want to append your customer list to get a better understanding of who they are? Can we help translate what you already know about your customers into new messages?

Loyalty Programs

DMNews reported the efforts of some well know brands to maintain customer loyalty. Retaining customers has taken on renewed focus for many companies recently in an effort to combat reluctance to spend during the recession. Some loyalty programs have become more elaborate and offer more rewards and discounts than in the past.

Target is looking for ways to make it easier for our guests to find additional savings,” says Target spokeswoman Leah Guimond. “We’re currently testing a new rewards program in select markets that offers guests a percent off all purchases made with their REDcard.”

Best Buy’s Rewards Zone program not only offers more rewards to its most loyal customers, but it focuses on keeping in touch with those consumers. “The rules require that we have a valid way to connect to the customers and we’ve introduced a high-value tier that gets additional benefits,” says Bob Soukup, senior director of loyalty at Best Buy. “This lets us reward those customers who are interested in having a relationship with Best Buy. It also lets us concentrate extra attention on our best customers.”

Hilton, worked on increasing enrollment in its loyalty program by reaching out to a different audience than it did before the recession. Rather than its frequent-traveling, elite customer base, the hotel conglomerate shifted its focus to more casual travelers by “being more active with promotional activity, both added-value discount offerings and loyalty program offerings,” says Jeff Diskin, SVP of brand management and marketing at Hilton. “We want to engage with all travelers primarily through our HHonors [loyalty] program, to facilitate the dialog we can have through different channels when they’re connected to us and be able to drive promotional activity and business where we need it,” Diskin adds. “In the past 15 months, we’ve pretty much had an HHonors-based promotion every quarter. What that’s done is drive enrollment, so now we’re getting the business they’ve booked for the promotion and then using that database for some really directed offerings.”

Brand marketers are also realizing the power of loyalty marketing in driving the bottom line. J&P Cycles, a multichannel retailer of aftermarket motorcycle parts, used the insights it gained from members of its Gold Club loyalty program to adjust prices on “tens of thousands” of its SKUs, says Rich Brecht, senior contact center manager for the company. “As the economy really took a dive, we found a lot of our feedback was coming on shipping charges and price,” Brecht says. “So we lowered the Gold Club shipping minimums, and if a customer didn’t order this product from us today because it was cheaper elsewhere, we started aggressively logging that to adjust prices.”

Marketers without existing loyalty programs are now taking a second look. Printer manufacturer Epson is considering a loyalty program to encourage buying ink direct from the company. Such a program was tested and killed in the past, says Chris Nickel, manager of CRM and direct response marketing for Epson, but momentum has begun to build behind the idea again.

Is there a way that we can help you implement a loyalty program using your existing customer information? Just letting your customers know that you appreciate their business may be the reminder they need to stay loyal to you. A “thank you” card sent in the mail can go a long way.

Tips for Compelling Mail

Use your own list

Your own list of customers and prospects who know you and have previously responded to your advertisements will generate a much greater response. Update your list frequently with changed addresses.

What is in it for the reader

What excites you may not be what resonates with your audience. What’s most important to your reader isn’t your product or service; it’s how that product or service improves their life. Talk in terms of their interests to generate a higher response rate.

Personalize your message

Past customers won’t need the same message as potential clients who have never dealt with your company. The more relevant the message is for your intended audience, the better your response rate.

Get past the recycle bin

To get your direct mail piece past the shredder and into the right hands:

  • Address to a specific person, not just a job title or occupant.
  • For business mail, use a standard size envelope and make it look like personal correspondence as much as possible.
  • Also for business mail, try using language like “Requested Information Enclosed” so it looks like the addressee is expecting it.
  • Using a stamp usually increases response.

Make it easy for the recipient to respond

Many mail pieces have gone out without complete contact information. Make sure to include your phone number, website address, email address and any other way your want to interact. And if people contact you, make sure you get back to them right away.

Customer Lifetime Value

BNET recently posted an article titled, “Treat Your Customers Like Lifetime Investments”. They told the story of most retailers having a dismal year, with larger companies laying off employees and closing stores, and a smaller operations shutting down altogether. At the same time, Zane’s Cycles, a Branford, CT bicycle retailer, increased revenue 20 percent. How? Years ago, Zane’s established a service-focused company culture that keeps customers coming to the store in good economic times and bad.  “When we changed from trying to force our customers to buy what we had to creating a relationship with them based on providing them with whatever they needed, then everything changed,” CEO Chris Zane says.

The 29-year-old store sets itself apart from competitors by offering free lifetime service and parts on everything it sells, as well as 90-day price protection. Zane has tracked sales and customer data over a number of years to discover the average customer’s “lifetime value” — the gross revenue he or she will bring in over time. “The lifetime value of a customer [for me] is $12,500,” says Zane. “That gives me $5,625 of profit. My customers are valuable, so I treat them that way.”

How can you turn your customers into lifetime fans? Here are Zane’s tips:

  1. Focus on customer relationships, not one-time transactions. Discounts and sales may lure in one-time buyers, but they won’t keep them coming back. On the other hand, Zane’s policy of giving away anything that costs under a dollar helps create raving fans.
  2. Give your employees permission to do whatever it takes to keep customers satisfied — even if the customer’s request might seem unreasonable. When a customer recently complained that a new bicycle from Zane’s had made a grease mark on the back seat of her car, an employee offered to treat her to free professional detailing. “It becomes a much easier existence for our staff. There’s no worrying if you’ve made the right decision, “  Zane says. “You just do what the customer wants.”
  3. Make every customer interaction fun, informative, and positive. That’s every interaction — even when it’s clear they’re not going to open their wallets that day. Zane’s customers are treated to free coffee and soft drinks and encouraged to linger in the store.
  4. Stand by your products with service and price guarantees. In a lousy economy, that may sound like a recipe for bankruptcy, but Zane says only small numbers of people actually take advantage of the guarantees. And the pay off is customer loyalty and trust.

Have you calculated the lifetime value of your customers? Can we help you create a strategy to make your customers feel appreciated?

Business to Business Sales Leads

Marketo provided the inspiration for these tips. They propose a process for growing business to business sales leads.

1. Nurture. Lead nurturing is the process of using many channels including the mail, phone, web, email, and other channels to build relationships with qualified prospects who are not ready for sales efforts. Many leads are still in research mode, so communication and offers should provide best practices, statistics, research, etc. to help the customer frame their research.

Lead nurturing:

  • Builds relationships with prospects
  • Creates understanding of needs
  • Facilitates lead scoring

2. Frame the research. Lead nurturing is not sending a newsletter to your entire database, or calling prospects every few weeks to see if they are ready to buy yet. B2B purchases are, by their nature, complex. Buyers need help to see possibilities and issues they wouldn’t think about on their own. If you can help frame the discussion, you will be seen as a trusted advisor and thought leader. This will help buyers believe that your company understands their problems and knows how to solve them. Lead nurturing is your opportunity to demonstrate the value you can provide and to position yourself as a resource.

3. Define what makes a lead “ready”. Work with your sales team to build criteria that determine the steps prospects should take before they are ready for a sales call. Criteria could include:

  • Demographic information – Geographic location, company size, etc.
  • “Push” actions – What have you done to interact with the lead, what have you told them?
  • “Pull” actions – What has the lead done to pull information to them? What pages have they visited? Have they downloaded special information?

4. Score the lead. The prospect is in control of the buying process. Monitor their efforts to pull information and interaction to know when they’re ready to move to the next stage. Interest level should be defined not just by their words but their actions. Actions speak louder than words. Track all the actions and update scores accordingly.

5. Provide detailed information to sales when leads are determined to be “ready”. Don’t just toss the lead over and leave it up to the sales rep to create a continuous experience for the customer.

  • Let sales know what marketing activities the prospect has responded to, and indicate which product the prospect is most likely to purchase based on responses to date.
  • Create tools such as templates, qualifying questions, and call scripts to guide sales reps during their initial contact with the lead. Be sure to refer to the marketing activities they have responded to.

6. Track follow up. Work with sales to create the scoring criteria to build goodwill with them. After that, regularly analyze the leads that were determined to be sales-ready to further refine your lead scoring criteria.

  • Adjust lead score thresholds based on business conditions.
  • Make sure sales follows up with leads and reassign leads that don’t get contacted.
  • When leads aren’t closed by sales as expected, recycle them back into marketing for further nurturing.

7. Track every marketing activity. Tracking every marketing activity is critical to understanding which marketing programs work. What programs directly contributed to sales? What programs generated the highest quality leads? Which programs had the greatest influence on the sales pipeline? You need to know the impact of all the programs.

8. Understand prospects needs. As you build a relationship with your prospects, you should also be learning more about their needs. Every campaign the prospect responds to tells you about their interests. Every page they visit on your website tells you about their interests. Every link they click, and every piece of information they fill out on a form, tells you more about them. Be clever with your forms – don’t ask prospects to enter information you already know, and use the opportunity to find out something new!

9. Track all traffic and tie to new leads. Simple code on your Web pages help you track prospects, whether anonymous or known. This helps tell you which companies are interested in your products. As anonymous prospects complete forms on your website or landing pages, any previous web visits can be automatically attributed to the new lead. This is important to determine the sales readiness of new leads, since you know the entire history of the relationship with that prospect – including which campaign helped them find you in the first place.

10. Data quality standards, including de-duplication. Demographic analysis has long been a part of the sales process, and the Web makes it easier to collect this information. Certain information such as company size can help you determine the lead score. With many demand generation and lead nurturing activities running concurrently, automatic deduplication is imperative. Forms which auto-complete if the visitor is recognized not only help your prospects but can also facilitate the collection of additional information for profiling and scoring.