Investing in Actionable Insights Part 2 – Value Comes Into Focus

In Part 1 of this series, I discussed the case for investing in designing direct marketing campaigns that are designed to deliver insights into our business, which can make our marketing process more effective and also provide valuable intelligence across other initiatives happening in the business.
In Part 2 of the series I promised I would feature some real-world examples of the value these Actional Insights can deliver.  Hopefully these recent examples we’ve experienced with some of our clients help answer some of the questions that undoubtedly arise as we begin to imaging doing this in our own campaigns.  Questions like, “how would we define an actionable insight, and why are they important?”  Or, “what are some examples of actionable insights?  What are they worth?  How do I build an appreciation throughout my organization of the value actionable insights can deliver?”
Recently we examined the customer base of a client providing services to homeowners and discovered that the rate of attrition experienced over a several year period was significantly higher than the client had previously thought.  A careful look at the data revealed this insight, which led to further discoveries.  Reaching back further into historical data allowed us to understand the trend better and begin working to correlate other data to isolate some possible causes.  These theories guided further discussion of possible offer segmentation and testing in ongoing campaigns.  Perhaps a separate campaign to past customers to collect more data would reveal even deeper insight into the reasons customers are switching to the competition.  This knowledge can inform marketing tactics as well as the client’s core service design and delivery, and therein lies the bridge from the marketing department to the leaders of the organization.  These are the kinds of insights that can truly move the needle for a business in meaningful ways, and create incredible leverage to improve results.
Another recent example highlights combining two powerful data analysis tactics to reveal Actionable Insights for a client in the retail home furnishings space.  The process began with using cluster analysis to perform market segmentation, which very simply stated amounts to grouping a set of customers in such a way that customers in the same group (a “cluster”) are more similar (in some sense or another) to each other than to those in other groups.  This can be a powerful way to gain a deeper understanding of groups within a customer base that can begin to form target buyer personas.  Taken a step further, we began looking into these clusters, performing analysis on POS data (Recency, Frequency, Monetary) at the segment level, revealing some clear product purchasing patterns within these groups.  This important information not only helped inform prospect list acquisition, creative and offer segmentation within the campaign, but led to further insights about the comparative value of different buyer personas and where marketing dollars could be deployed most productively.  Additionally, these Actionable Insights fundamentally changed the way our client viewed their customers in ways that influenced other important strategic initiatives across the business.

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