Getting Ever Closer to the Customer

Nice piece over at Knowlege@Wharton on some lessons to be learned from smart direct marketing. Here are some of the better highlights…

On being smart with your data collection:

Some retailers have been swept up in the technology that now allows them to gather extensive personal data, but that information does not necessarily relate to buying behavior. “I have heard industry professionals say they have this huge data warehouse and 600 different measures. I say, ‘Big deal, 595 of them are useless.’”

On Direct Mail and Catalogue marketing:

Hoch says catalog retailers, which once seemed threatened by the Internet, have found it has enhanced their businesses. The Internet makes it easier and faster to buy catalog merchandise, but customers still need the printed catalog in hand. It will be many years before the Internet has the bandwidth to portray the details and depth of merchandise in a typical glossy catalog, says Hoch.

Hoch points to Wharton research showing that the top indicator for whether shoppers would buy over the Internet was if they had already purchased from a catalog.

And on the lessons to be learned by traditional marketers:

According to Fader, all retailers can borrow from the experience of direct marketers. Direct marketers constantly experiment with better ways to target their faceless customers and potential customers, who never physically enter a store. Traditional store-based retailers do less experimentation, because they feel they already have a strong tie to their customers. “In many ways direct marketers are the best of the breed. Other marketers stand to learn quite a bit from them.”

You can read the full piece here.

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