Speaker Shows the Way With Event-Driven Marketing

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL — Consider this scenario: A customer disputes a bill for the third time. What does a marketer do before this occurrence? Proactively e-mail the customer details about a cheaper plan.

The result of this event-driven marketing tactic is customer retention. That was Roddy Martin's point to attendees at yesterday's 2005 Annual Teradata Partners User Group Conference and Expo.

“Event-driven marketing maximizes the value of every transaction and really results in more revenue, higher profits and more growth,” he said.

Martin, a South African, is vice president of industry strategies, consumer packaged goods and life sciences at AMR Research Inc. His session at the conference offered a roadmap for customer data management and tips for tactics based on knowledge of prior actions.

For example, a customer makes a large deposit in a bank, and a credit card offer is immediately triggered. The result is a frightened customer.

“We [have] to be very careful how we manage events in the downstream data process,” he said.

Yet some triggers bring added revenue. In one scenario, a customer is offered an add-on product in real time when a base product is purchased. In another, an online customer clicks three times on the details for an item but doesn't buy it. A coupon then goes in the next catalog mailed to her.

Martin emphasized technology's role in event-driven marketing. Companies must undertake customer data, customer segmentation and campaign management processes. The next, more advanced, step involves predictive modeling, targeted campaigns and the interaction engine. Finally, campaign optimization, cross-organization integration and real-time or event-driven marketing are the components of the next generation.

“Most companies do not have an effective master data management strategy,” Martin said.

He gave examples of marketers that did, without naming them.

One wireless service provider had an uplift of only 0.5 percent across all campaigns, a 5 percent acceptance rate on its site and 2 percent acceptance in the contact center. Moreover, the call center employees were problem solvers, not sales people. And they offered whatever promotion was hot that week, not necessarily ones that built business.

To solve those problems, the provider introduced real-time marketing. Agents were trained on ways to sell callers. More varied campaigns were introduced. Overall, $2.4 million was spent in technology for customer analytics and real-time marketing. The results: Uplift climbed to 15 percent online and 12 percent in the call center. An extra $18 million was generated in the six months after the changes.

Martin also cited a retail bank having problems. Online traffic researching mortgages wasn't reflected in closings. Only 4 percent of site visitors requested more information. Online traffic wasn't considered a source of leads. Moreover, fear of violating no-call and anti-spam laws forced the bank to wait for prospects to fill out an online form or call the contact center.

The solution was to introduce real-time marketing online with a $600,000 technology investment. The bank took the data entered into the online mortgage calculator, passed it on to brokers and started real-time chat sessions online. Chats were tested on 33 percent of the online traffic.

Twenty-one percent of those tested accepted the online chat, and 70 percent of those accepted chats led to qualified mortgage discussions. And the bank's site was transformed from a research engine to a transaction engine. The bank generated $2 million in extra sales in three months, with expectations to cross $10 million within a year.

Martin offered two more examples. An airline gave coupons for a visit to its club when a flight was delayed more than an hour. The coupons generated an extra $600,000 in revenue in six months. Then there was a florist that added a “Purpose” field to its online order form. The company sent reminder e-mails and a 10 percent discount coupon a week before when the Purpose field revealed a birthday or anniversary. ROI on those offers exceeded 300 percent.

It is important to get the right information at the right time, Martin said, and companies must be able to connect the dots quicker between customer actions and their responses.

Getting started in event-driven marketing requires going through a series of stages, Martin said. First, determine the severity of the problems, then cleanse the decentralized departmental data marts. Cleansing the centralized corporate data warehouse was third, though firms shouldn't get too bogged down in this process without showing some quick value. Finally, perform real-time data quality checks to protect the data.

Event-driven marketing sidesteps no-call and anti-spam issues, boosts the value of each interaction and spurs creativity in the marketing team, Martin said. But he had a qualifier: “Customer data management comes first, event-driven marketing second.”

Mickey Alam Khan covers Internet marketing campaigns and e-commerce, agency news as well as circulation for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters. Mickey Alam Khan is a guest of Teradata at the conference.

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