Marketer's Tools You Absolutely Need

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It's 4 o'clock on Friday afternoon. You learn from your field representative in Cleveland that your toughest competitor has introduced a new product that has better technology than your top selling product and has priced it to one of your largest customer segments at 20 percent less than yours.


The national manager has said your company needs to protect its share. You suggest that the firm immediately launch a customer retention effort. You need to get something out to your customers immediately, along with a relevant incentive to stay with your company.


You go back to your customer file and find that there is little data on this customer segment. Your list has been NCOA'd and brought up to date using Mailers+4, a small but powerful package you picked up at last year's DMA convention. Melissa Data Corp. makes this package for standardizing the addresses and has a great little deduping feature to get down to the household level. Mailer's+4 is the leading Windows postal automation software. Melissa Data, CASS, PAVE and POSTNET Barcode certified by USPS, its price is $995 a year, 970 Calle Negocio, San Clemente, CA 92673-6201, 800/800-MAIL, fax: 714/492-7086, e-mail: info@800mail.com.


Now you need to better understand your customers to identify which ones are vulnerable to your competitor's campaign. Since you're already a subscriber to the Acxiom Data Network, you simply connect to it and link your customer list to Acxiom InfoBase Enhancement. Now, through the use of communication software that complies with the most widely used industry standards, you can seamlessly access the Acxiom Data Network directly from your desktop. You download the data to your PC and get it all before done 5 p.m. that same day. Acxiom Data Network, 301 Industrial Blvd., Conway, AK 72032, 888/459-3282, www.acxiom.com/adn.


Now, you have access to a wealth of data. Current data. Armed with this new information, you are able to perform analysis. Fortunately, you have a suite of tools from Cognos Corp. that allows you to examine your very large customer file. PowerPlay is Cognos' award-winning tool for multidimensional analysis of corporate data, also known as online analytical processing (OLAP). PowerPlay allows managers and knowledge workers to explore data the way they think -- from all different angles.


You're ready for the next step, using the data from Acxiom's Infobase, to find those special relationships that will make your communications more relevant and timely. PowerPlay 5-user license, purchased through distributors, about $1,500, Impromptu 5-user license about $2,500. Scenario 5-user licenses about $3,500. Forethought 5-user license $25,000. Cognos Corp., 67 S. Bedford St., Burlington, MA, 01803-5164, phone: 800/426-4667 or 781/229-6600, fax: 781/229-9844. www.cognos.com.


Armed with the most responsive segment and knowing what key variables are the most relevant to the incentive offer, you are ready to move to the next segment, your catalog sales customers. Since some of your customers have purchased from you regularly through the catalog, you need to quickly complete a RFM (Recency, Frequency and Monetary Values) to determine which segment the teleprofessionals should use to make personal contact. RFM for Windows is a software program that helps marketers determine in advance which customers are most likely to respond.


Successful direct marketing to existing customers often involves response rates as low as 1 percent or 2 percent. This means that 98 percent of the pieces mailed are wasted. RFM for Windows helps you predict who those 98 percent are. By not mailing to them, response rates skyrocket and mailing costs decrease, boosting profits dramatically.


Profits should exceed the purchase price of RFM for Windows on your first rollout. The software works with both consumer and business-to-business files. Any marketer who has a customer database that contains 50,000 to 10 million records with purchase history can use it to segment customers. No statistician or modeler is needed. A 18-page manual plus fax support provides step-by-step instructions.


The RFM for Windows is a PC software system that segments a customer database into a maximum of 125 RFM (cells) based on purchase behavior. These cells are used to make extremely accurate predictions of future purchase behavior, resulting in high response rates and profits. The program works with both consumer and BTB marketing situations and includes complete reports, Nth selection, copy to clipboard, bad data rejection and step-by-step instructions for novice marketers. Price about $8,000 per three-user license. Database Marketing Institute, 309 Mill St., P.O. Box 573 Occoquan, VA 22125, 888/219-4648, 703/494-3422, www.dbmarketing.com.


By Monday morning, you walk in with the entire relationship marketing plan in hand that touches all of the most important segments, saving thousands of dollars in wasted nonrelevant communications. Of course, the national manager is impressed and your annoying colleague, who is always trying to put you in a bad light, is green with envy.


For more information, contact MS Database Marketing at www.msdbm.com or 10866 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 370, Los Angeles, CA 90024, 310/208-2024 or rmckim@msdbm.com.
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