Involvement Data

I need your help.

My resolution for the coming year is to provide you with more stories and mini-case studies about using consumer data to “solve” marketing problems. Considering “Solutions for Marketers” is the tagline underneath the ClickZ Network’s banner (at the top left of the page), this seems a good resolution. To accomplish this goal, I’ll lead by example, and I need your assistance.

Read on for details…

Data = Good

There are two aspects of the online world marketers should take advantage of. One is the medium’s ability to be interactive. The other is online’s rich availability of data.

The data aspects are readily apparent. Forms on Web sites can help you collect data from customers. If the site is correctly configured, such data are usually cleaner than data collected from other sources. Online purchase data are also relatively easy to access and can be used to help better understand customers.

Did you know that 20 to 40 percent of sales generated from catalogs delivered to customers’ mailboxes might be made online, for example? Or that ads placed via a targeted online system (such as behaviorally targeted ads) can result in two to three times more sales?

These are good examples of how data help you understand your customers and their habits. The implications affect marketers’ targeting efforts, media buys, offers, general creative efforts, even product offerings.

Involvement = Good

A major consumer packaged goods (CPG) company analyzed the effect of a marketing program that involved both direct mail and email. The program included surveys fielded via direct mail and online, as well as analysis of frequent shopper data collected on the consumers.

Results show the more involved a consumer was in the program, the more products she purchased. Put another way, the more “inter-active” a consumer is, the more she buys. A survey respondent who visited the CPG company’s Web sites ended up buying more products than a respondent who only viewed the email messages. A respondent who only viewed the email still bought more than a respondent who only received a direct mail piece.

A major computer company conducted an email campaign to site visitors who opted in to receive mailings. The marketing department assembled an email offer regarding its new laptop system.

The company received a number of email replies to the “special offer.” Some replies pointed out not only was the offer missing critical technical information about the system but a similar system could be bought “down the street at the local computer chain store for about 30 percent less.” “‘Special Offer’ indeed!” one email recipient replied.

Easy interactivity (in this case, via an email response) allowed the marketers to learn more about their market (which they may eventually have learned using an expensive focus group). They also found out recipients who became involved in the program via an email response were more likely to investigate additional advertising information on the company’s Web sites. These marketers saw the ability to be involved, or interactive, with the program increased its effectiveness.

A Request for Your Help

Your customers will share their thoughts and ideas with you if it’s easy and worthwhile to do so. Just ask for their participation. The “reward” for participating may be the knowledge they helped you improve your product or service, as was the case with the CPG company above. The reward could a cash or prize incentive. Many online survey companies that use pop-up ads to lure survey participants offer cash or prizes. It’s the ease of interactivity that makes these communications possible.

And because interactivity is so easy online, I’ll take advantage of it right now. If you have an example of a marketer using consumer data to improve his marketing and would like to share it with this column’s readers, please send me the relevant information.

Your reward? The fame and glory of being mentioned right here in this column.

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