08
Sep
08

Segmenting travelers – Here’s a method to do it

There’s always a lot of thinking & data-driven insights needed on how to approach segmentation of customers. At Cequity, we have always believed that we have to connect transactional data with behavioral observations that can help us identify customer types and segments more precisely. Here’s a method adopted for the travel & hospitality business. Read on:

This questionnaire, developed by travel researcher Stanley Plog, divides travelers into six personality types. At one end of the spectrum are “venturers” who like to strike out on their own to remote places. At the other are “authentics” who prefer Disney World as an adventure.

Two people can take the exact same trip and come away with completely different impressions. Many travel experts offer a short quiz to help define your travel personality. If you love going places, you may be an adventurous traveler. This means generally you love going places you’ve never been, keep your passport current–just in case–or laugh at the very idea of a travel guide book. You are spontaneous and curious and like learning about the world by experiencing it. You look for last minute deals that provide you a chance to explore new places.

Structured travelers like to have a plan in place and look for low stress. You even have an alternative plan if something should go wrong. You like to look at your hotel room by online video so you know exactly what to expect. Laid back travelers handle stress without much anxiety. You choose a relaxing vacation one time and an active one another. You often wait until you arrive at your destination to decide what you will do while you are there.

To find out your travel personality try taking a quiz at a new Web site, www.Besttripchoices.com

08
Sep
08

Gift cards on-demand

Amazon.com, has announced the launch of Amazon Gift Codes On Demand™ (AGC On Demand), a real-time electronic gift-card distribution option available from the Amazon Corporate Gift Card program. According to the company, “AGC On Demand is a simple Web service API that integrates Amazon’s proprietary gift-card technology directly into customer loyalty, employee incentive and payment disbursement platforms. With AGC On Demand, companies are able to reduce physical gift-card fulfillment overhead while providing gift card recipients with a customized experience and instant gratification.

Previously, gift card values were fixed and management of inventory for active gift cards and gift codes purchased in bulk required secure facilities. With AGC On Demand, gift codes are created individually in virtually any denomination and can be immediately issued in almost any format — based on the client’s preference — including e-mail, HTML, customized/co-branded cards and paper receipts.

“This is a great solution for developers and incentive companies who are looking for a more cost-effective way to manage a gift card program,” said Marcell King, senior manager of corporate gift cards with ACI Gift Cards, Inc. “The AGC On Demand service offers a quick and secure way to deliver gift cards and stored value to program participants.”

08
Sep
08

The art of scorecarding

The term “Scorecards” originated with the Kaplan and Norton’s definition of the balanced scorecard and was meant to create a strategic method of management. Scorecard software, for its part, is intended to encapsulate a company’s strategic plan and allow operations to be measured against it.

In this way, the scorecard considers information not from the bottom up, with an “in all this data there must be a pony some where” perspective, but from the top down. In other words, What is strategic to our business and can we measure it from the highest levels through the lowest levels of detail to support decisions and action plans?

Scorecards help put these myths to bed by pulling back the wizard’s curtain to reveal critical business data that is specific to authorized executives, managers and departments, in a format which is graphical and makes clear the relationship between content. In effect, scorecards makes visible the results of all the “accounting” being performed in the organization and even step beyond what is typically thought of as accounting to include operational metrics.

Thanks to beyeblogs.com

08
Sep
08

Engagement – What does it take to engage customers and employees?

Allegiance and Peppers & Rogers write:

..the traditional axes of competition – product,price,place, promotion will no longer propel growth but will simply allow parity with competition perpetuated. Winning today requires a new competitive advantage: people – both employees and customers – who are not only satisfied, not only loyal, but also engaged.

.. the new view of engagement involves five levels. At the most basic level, an engaged customer or employee must be satisfied…. If this is achieved, then there exists and opportunity to build loyalty…Loyal individuals have the option of recommending the company to friends…. The last tier in the continuum involves an emotional connection…reflected in an employee employee proud to work for the company or customer being excited about the direction of the company.

01
Sep
08

B2B Loyalty – Best Practices

Here are the latest trends in B2B loyalty, technology and analytics that can help business build a bond with other other businesses:

How do you transform your company from a mere vendor into a valued partner? By building a loyalty platform on a strong foundation of customer data—and leveraging that platform to identify, understand and influence the consumer behind the account number.

Here are some best practices that you should consider:

IDENTIFY: People, not account numbers

Here’s a look at a few of the predominant models for identifying critical B2B contacts:

Give them some face time.

Jeff Hayzlett, Chief Business Development Officer for Eastman Kodak Company, is intimately familiar    with the B2B identification challenge.Given the vast variety of customer types, Eastman Kodak’s approach is to facilitate meetings and events with end users who value the chance to interact with the company on a personal level. Kodak’s annual Graphic Users Association Conference brings Kodak product managers and software developers face-to-face with their end-users, while a series of customer councils for publishers, commercial printers, and database marketers helps Kodak identify key decision-makers and influencers and give them tools to help them grow their businesses.

Use Web 2.0 tools—but warily.

One in three small-business owners now cultivate leads and choose suppliers based on recommendations from social-networking web sites such as Facebook or LinkedIn.”Increasingly, small-business owners are getting referrals and searching for supplier recommendations through their networks. Direct mail, newspaper and broadcast advertising are becoming less efficient mediums for reaching small businesses.”

UNDERSTAND: It’s the database, stupid

Once you have identified your sweet spot of small-business customers, the next step is to spend some time understanding their current behavior and comparing it to that of your best customers. Your goal is to isolate behavioral gaps that can be overcome with the right offer.

Treat your database like an asset.

B2B data degrades much more quickly than consumer data. While a consumer might keep the same email address for most of her adult life, a small-business buyer might change jobs, get a new title or return to the corporate world. That makes data refreshment a continual challenge.

Thou shalt not live on transactional data alone.

A 2008 Marketing Leadership Council study found that, because the cost of switching suppliers is higher and more complex in B2B, “attitudes”—in other words, the customer’s emotional connection to the brand—are often better indicators of B2B loyalty than pure transactional behavior. Small-business customers can look loyal in the transaction file, but a survey might find pockets of disgruntled customers who could benefit from an intervention.

Become a data conduit.

In the consumer world, data tends to flow one way, from the consumer to the database. B2B marketers, by contrast, can also learn a lot about their small-business customers by reversing the data stream. Small-business credit cardholders who lack accounting departments, for example, can benefit from information on their business purchases. AT&T Universal Business Rewards cardholders not only earn Citi ThankYou Rewards points on all purchases, but also gain access to a wealth of tools to help track and analyze business expenses.

Source: Colloquy

01
Sep
08

Predictive vs Descriptive modeling – Understanding the difference

Many organizations use historical analytics data as a basis for forecasting future growth, and establishing performance goals and budgets. This applicaton for analytics data can blur the distinction between predictive and descriptive data. Understanding this difference is critical to an effective analytics program.

Predicitive modeling refers to a mathematical model that can accurately predict future outcomes. For instance, I know that if I apply sufficient heat to water, the water will reaach 100 degrees celsius and begin to boil (barring slight variations for altitude which are also predictable). The rate at which this happens and the amount of energy required can be mathematically described.

Descriptive modeling refers to a mathematical model that describes historical events, and the presumed or real relationship between between elements that created them. For instance, yesterday when I went to the store to buy milk, it cost me $1.00 a litre, last month it was 95 cents, last year it was 80 cents.. Based on historical events, I assume it will cost me roughly $1.05 to buy a litre of milk next month.

Read more

01
Sep
08

Case Study: How Harbor Sweets uses customer data effectively

Harbor Sweets is a Massachusetts-based gourmet chocolate company that offers a variety of premium sweets. In 1973, the company emerged from humble beginnings when Ben Strohecker set out to create the “best piece of candy in the world.” The result was Sweet Sloops, a sailboat shaped piece of almond butter crunch, covered in white chocolate dipped in dark chocolate and crushed pecans. Over the years, the company grew to feature additional candy lines and retail outlets across the U.S. Harbor Sweets also added a significant mail-order catalog division.

Their catalog program was successful in delivering sales during key holiday buying seasons, but the company also wanted to ensure that holiday campaign mailings – the main driver of catalog business – were maximizing sales.Harbor Sweets needed a solution that would efficiently turn existing customer data into actionable next steps. Essentially, Harbor Sweets wanted to find out if removing a single mailing to “active customers” from the holiday mail schedule – which included mailings every month from September through December – would conserve marketing resources, while refraining from negatively impacting revenue or overall response rates.

Harbor Sweets conducted a suppression test, assessing how effective the holiday campaign mailings had been at driving sales. Harbor Sweets mailed the catalog to everyone in December and ran a suppression test for September, October and November. The results were surprising.Harbor Sweets was actually hurting sales by mailing too many catalogs to customers during the holiday season. The results also found that the cadence for the catalogs could be reduced to three, while still achieving similar results.

Additionally, Harbor Sweets learned firsthand that it is imperative to be open to analyzing data and customer behavior in new ways.The more information available on existing customers, the more effective the software is in its results, whether it is predicting customer’s next steps or customers at risk of defection.

The results allowed Harbor Sweet to develop a long-term marketing process for the future. The revenue saved by removing one mailing is now applied to another mailing during non-peak times to provide customers with a more effectively targeted, timely catalog.

Source: DM review




At Cequity, we believe customer intelligence will be the biggest competitive advantage enterprises will have in the next decade or two. Successful enterprises of tomorrow will be the ones who can organize and leverage this information at speed to optimize their marketing performance, increase accountability, improve profit and deliver growth. Cequity insights will bring to you trends and insights in this area and it’s our way of sharing best practices so as to help you accelerate this culture and thinking in your organization.
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