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Scoring: The Overlooked Marketing Automation Tool

  |  April 23, 2014   |  Comments

Scoring, or "dynamic segmentation," allows you to constantly assess your prospects and customers with the goal of ultimately increasing your return on investment.

I regularly meet with marketers to help them review their use of their marketing automation platforms. Far too often, I find that many teams ignore the powerful insight that can be gleaned from scoring.

If you're hung up on the term "scoring," then try thinking of these powerful capabilities as "dynamic segmentation." Dynamic segmentation is a powerful way of continuously assessing your customers and prospects, feeding automation programs, providing feedback to management, and synthesizing many data points simultaneously. Plus, it is a fantastic tool for both B2B and B2C, including not-for-profit marketers.

In its simplest form, scoring allows you to assign points to an individual in your database whenever their profile data or behavior matches something that you have established in your scoring model. Below are six tips for making the most out of your scoring model:

Begin With Demographic Scoring

Demographic scoring variables are a great place to start and allow you to assign points to records based on values in your marketing database. For example, if a prospect in the U.S. is more valuable to you than a prospect in Uganda, you would have a scoring element based on the geography in which a person resides and assign more points to the U.S. prospect than the Ugandan prospect. Virtually any field in your marketing database today can be used as an element in your scoring model. Elements that might be valuable for the B2C marketers include birthday, age, and gender, while a B2B marketer might be interested in company size, revenue, industry, and company location.

Upping the Ante With Behavioral Scoring Attributes

While demographic scoring values, and the resulting score, might not change all that much, behavioral scoring attributes will give you a much more dynamic look at who your highest potential clients (and most active customers) are. Scoring tools have the capability to assign point values to customers based on email behavior (opening and clicking), website behavior (site and page visits) and asset consumption (PDF downloads, video watching), social participation (sharing, re-tweeting, answering polls), and much more.

Think about which behaviors are most meaningful to you in your buyers' journey, assign point values to those behaviors, and implement the Web tracking capabilities provided with your marketing automation solution. Then, the system will take over and automatically assign points when anyone in your marketing database exhibits the behaviors you are measuring.

Don't Forget About Recency and Frequency

You can make your scoring model more accurate if you kick your behavioral scoring up a notch by incorporating recency and frequency. For example, if a prospect exhibits a particular behavior today, you will probably want more points assigned to them over an individual who exhibited the same behavior nine months ago. Recency capabilities also allow you to time-phase the behaviors so that the score degrades over time.

If someone uses the interactive return on investment (ROI) calculator on your website 10 times, do you want to assign points for each and every visit? Should that person get the same score as someone who uses the calculator just once? These are the types of things to think about when assigning scores based on frequency, which allows you to decide how you want to handle behaviors that happen more than once. Perhaps you want to assign 50 points to the first behavior and only five points for each subsequent behavior - it's your choice and should be based on what's best for your business goals!

Multiple Models

The beauty of scoring is that you don't have to jam everything into one model! You can have one model for customers and another one for prospects. Or, one model for small businesses and another for enterprise-sized prospects. Or, if you are a nonprofit organization, one model for regular donors and another for donation prospects. If you sell multiple products or support multiple brands, you might want also want to have a scoring model for each product or line. The possibilities are endless!

Using Your Models as the Automation Entry Point

Consider using a score value as the criteria for someone participating in an automated program. If a customer or prospect's score falls to a certain level, you can put automatically place them into an early reactivation campaign.

On the other hand, you can also use scoring to reward your most loyal customers with extra backstage passes, private video clips, or bonus offers via an automated reward program. As soon as someone crosses a score threshold (your automation entry rule), then enroll them in the automated reward campaign. These are just a couple of examples of how you can use scores as triggers to join automated campaigns. You are really only limited by your digital marketing imagination.

Get Going Today

Finally, just remember that done is better than perfect. There is no such thing as a perfect scoring model, and it will likely always be an evolving process. Develop your model then hand score 20 to 30 records in your database to see what scores they would get. If the handmade scores make sense, then set it up in your marketing automation system. If it is not perfect, you can always adjust it later based on what you learn or what new information you have. With a bit of planning and setup, you'll soon have a very valuable tool that will give you tremendous insight and will also help you drive departmental efficiency.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ellen Valentine

Ellen Valentine has more than 20 years of experience as vice president of marketing/CMO for a number of technology companies. She has deep expertise in launching new products, evaluating product and market positions, designing go-to-market strategy, and managing all digital marketing initiatives. She believes that great people and effective technology are foundations for success, but great execution is the ultimate differentiator.

In her role at Silverpop, an IBM company, she's focused on coaching and mentoring Silverpop clients to adapt and thrive in marketing's changing role. She's also a sought-out speaker at industry conferences and events.

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