Multichannel Panel Talks Data at DMI Co-op

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WHITE PLAINS, NY -- Good, healthy data is the key to multichannel marketing, according to Monica C. Smith, president/CEO of Marketsmith Inc.

Ms. Smith spoke on a panel titled "Managing for Success in a Multichannel World" at the 2006 Direct Media Client Conference and Co-op held here last week.

"We as direct marketers have what it takes to bring all brands to best practices about how to view customers," she said.

For Tumi, a high-end luggage and business accessory marketer and Marketsmith client, the goals were to understand customers and how best to market to them across all channels to increase sales. Tumi, founded in 1975, has 50 retail stores worldwide in places such as London, Paris and Tokyo.

Aside from retail, Tumi had data from customer touch points including Web, phone, warranty, repair and opt outs. All that data needed to be brought together to create one unique customer view, Ms. Smith said.

"Multiple silos all provide data at different levels," she said. If you aren't happy with a data element from one silo, you can repair it with data from other silos, though each channel will yield unique names.

But all that data and technology will not be effective without consistent matching logic to look at customers across channels, she warned.

One thing that Tumi and Marketsmith discovered: E-mail addresses from different sources performed differently.

"E-mail addresses captured at retail are not as effective as e-mail addresses coming in over the Web," Ms. Smith said. "They will not perform the same or have the same permissions."

If you collect e-mail addresses at retail locations, ensure that it is clear to the consumer what the address will be used for and that proper permission is obtained, she urged attendees.

Tumi and Marketsmith, Montclair, NJ, also learned that "customers who provide more information are more likely to spend more," she said. Tumi customers who did not give a telephone number and e-mail address had average orders 9.7 percent less than those that did.

Tumi and Ms. Smith used all the information they garnered from the analytical phase to define the marketer's creative and brand strategy.

"Six to nine months ago the database was in great shape," said fellow panelist Wendee Lunt, vice president of global marketing and development at Tumi, South Plainfield, NJ. "Then we needed to go beyond that to build a bridge between the data, the brand and our goals."

Tumi settled on the concept of targeting customers and prospects as what Ms. Lunt called "citizens of the world," identified a market of 39 million in the United States and is still rolling out campaigns. One initiative she cited is a marketing partnership Tumi forged with European motorcycle manufacturer Ducati to target young, hip European professionals.

And that, as Ms. Smith said, is an example of understanding what customers respond to and creating actionable marketing plans.

Other panelists were Mike Rogers, president of CRM company StrategicOne, Overland Park, KS, and Jeff Jacobs, data analyst at nonprofit organization Alliance Defense Fund, Scottsdale, AZ.

The co-op ran April 26-27 at Renaissance Westchester Hotel and Conference Center. It began with a throwback to the early days of the event and Direct Media itself.

"People around our company have often talked about how when this event started 32 years ago it was [DMI chairman/founder] Dave Florence inviting 10 or 15 or 20 of his clients to get together in a hotel meeting room and talk for a day," Larry May, CEO of Direct Media Inc., Greenwich, CT, said in an interview with <I>DM News<I>. "In the beginning it was entirely business to business, and the attendees were entrepreneurs, owners and the people who were making all the day-to-day decisions. Sometimes people say it would be great to get back to that."

So the 2006 DMI Co-op started with five private lunch meetings, one each for clients in the BTB, catalog, circulation, continuity and fundraising markets. A client was selected to head each meeting, and attendance was by invitation only, Mr. May said.

"It was a chance for them to sit and have lunch and toss around ideas and anecdotes in a non-public setting," he said.

But this year's event has sessions pertinent to each of the market segments as well. Topics include consumer, cooperative databases, BTB, publishing, e-commerce and fund raising. Mr. May touted the multichannel marketing panel.

"It's a really major challenge for marketers to track the various ways they're doing business with their customers," he said. "A couple of years ago it was a fairly common answer when I'd ask how clients match back their Web business to know if they contacted those people through the mail or how they were actually reaching them to discover that they weren't doing much matching back at all."

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