May 4, 2016 Digital Marketing, Strategy

Data, data everywhere: Data analysis for better marketing


I am a math geek. So if I appear to get overly excited by data and analytics, you can understand why. What I find so intriguing about seemingly boring data sets, is that they have the power to be melded with other seemingly boring data sets to create highly personalized, customized and relevant communications. Data provides the ability to not only deliver messaging to consumers 1:1, but to track and report behaviors that help to evolve and improve the messaging for continued performance improvements over time. Using data analysis for better marketing IS exciting. And it works!

You might wonder, with everything you can do with data, why everyone doesn’t use this data to its best ability. The problem isn’t the availability of data, but an organization’s ability to make sense of all of it and bring it all together to positively affect a campaign’s performance. The problem is further compounded by the fact there are specialized skill sets required to use data to drive action. To do that, you need strategic planners, statisticians, programmers, data analysts, content developers and designers. Many organizations don’t have people with these important and diverse skill sets so that they are unable to execute data-driven results.

We have worked diligently over the past five years to create a collaborative process within our agency that pulls together strategy, research, technology and creative teams in order to build successful data-driven campaigns. We have built stand-alone direct marketing programs to fuel sales, drive conversions and/or increase recruitment. We have built integrated programs crossing digital, social, and email platforms – and even direct mail – to drive broader business objectives. Our interdisciplinary approach allows us to analyze and understand data in order to use it to drive successful campaign. We have used data to execute programs to drive rebate submissions to meet regulatory requirements as well as used data-based marketing to drive customer satisfaction and retention.

One example of a data-driven program that we executed for a retail client:

The Situation:

The client invested heavily in a sophisticated point of sale (POS) system and needed help to make the most of this investment.

Prior to working with us, the client had done little in the area of customer profiling and, as a result, was missing out on opportunities to capitalize on a rewards program.

The lack of ongoing bonus points or offers led to consumers having a lower perceived value of the existing loyalty program when compared to those of our client’s competitors.

The Objectives:

  • Increase brand loyalty and customer retention;
  • Cross-sell between the gas and convenience store units.

The Approach:


After receiving a database extract from the retailer, our expertise in customer analytics and statistical modeling allowed us to create an initial set of analyses. This helped the retailer better understand the financial value of its customer segments, behaviors and how the metrics were changing over time.

For example, we created was a “behavioral segmentation” score that generated deep insights into customer behavior. Because every customer in the database has a “score,” the segmentation is valuable and highly actionable for direct marketing.

These scores allowed each customer to be placed in a defined segment category (e.g. Platinum, Gold, Bronze, Defectors) based on their behaviors (e.g. high gas and low convenience store sales) that aligned with the objectives defined per segment (e.g. maintain gas sales and grow convenience store sales).

Strategize and Design

Once the retailer and m5 thoroughly reviewed and understood the implications of the customer analytics, we designed a continuity marketing program that used highly targeted e-mail marketing. Each email delivered personalized, customized, relevant information about the retailer and valuable bonus points offers for the customer. As an example, “Platinum” customers received different information and offers than ‘Bronze” customers. These offers were designed to make the desired changes in behavior.

Build and Execute

After a series of consultations with the retailer’s management team, we built and managed all of the components of the continuity marketing program including:

  • Customer database development and management
  • Email marketing—content, creative, programming and deployment
  • Analytics and reporting
  • Tracking and optimization

The continuity marketing program required little effort for the retailer, which has a limited number of staff and limited expertise in analytics and targeted marketing. With data, we were able to provide a turnkey solution.

Track and Optimize

We tracked numerous key metrics at the individual level, which enabled the retailer to understand how each customer was responding to each communication and offer. Using this data, we provided ongoing recommendations that helped the program grow stronger and have a greater impact over time.

The Results

The retailer’s management team now has a much better understanding of the composition and behavior of its customer base, which is a key tool in managing operations in a highly competitive market.

The retailer has been able to identify many areas of cost savings and, as a result, has been able to realign its budget to get more bang for its buck.  As an example, the retailer has decided to discontinue an old marketing program that our analysis showed was an inefficient use of its spend. Those savings will pay for a large portion of the new continuity marketing program.

Through ongoing testing and optimization, the retailer has gained valuable insights into the types of content, offers and marketing approaches that work best with its customers.

The sample report data for a six-month average of email marketing data includes:

  • 27% unique open rate
  • 9% click-through rate
  • 32% click-to-open rate
  • 6% points offer redemption rate
  • 4% non-points offer redemption rate

When compared to the client’s own historical results, as well as industry benchmarks, the email marketing program is performing extremely well — in some cases, the program metrics are up to five times higher than the historical results and industry benchmarks.

The bottom line? The correct use of data is a valuable tool for marketers. By putting the data to use, the retailer is now a smarter marketer with a higher ROI!