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Three Ways Attribution Can Improve Database Marketing Performance

Volume 1, Issue 6 - July, 2011

Anto Chittilappilly, Co-Founder, President & CTO, Visual IQ

Most companies who rely heavily on traditional database marketing channels, such as email and direct mail, perform some level of audience analysis on their in-house lists to identify demographic and behavioral patterns and a propensity to convert. Some of them overlay these lists with richer demographic databases provided by third party data sources to further improve their models, and then use these models to drive smarter marketing decisions. But the majority of these organizations could significantly improve their database marketing performance through the application of attribution modeling to their cross channel data. Three attribution-inspired steps marketers should take when making improvements are:

Step One: The audience analysis model should incorporate quantifiable metrics on how the database marketing channels are helping improve the performance of other channels as well as the extent to which other channels help the database marketing channels improve their performance. Without this information marketers are looking at their audiences in a siloed fashion, rather than based on their entire cross channel marketing experience. Smarter marketing decisions can be made once the cross channel marketing behavior and performance of your audience is known.

Step Two: Database marketing channels can be used to remarket to prospects based on the behavioral insights derived from other channels. For example, somebody who has searched the keyword “Aruba vacations” is more responsive to an email or direct mail offer for “Deals on Aruba Vacations” rather than receiving a generic offer for several vacation destinations — but the marketer first needs to know that this individual searched for that keyword. And of course when attribution is performed, partial credit for an eventual conversion that would result from that activity would be given to both the search channel and the database marketing (email or direct mail) channels.

Step Three: Marketers often confuse media metrics like contacts mailed, open rate or click-through rate with actual business metrics like ROAS and ROI. To maximize business metrics, marketers need to integrate the customer data from their CRM and other systems where it resides with their media data in a cross channel manner so that their monetary business success metrics can be accurately spread across all the channels that helped produce them.

In a way, database marketing serves as the glue that helps bond other marketing channels together by providing rich, audience-level demographic data. It can also add significant quality to the data that is fed into attribution models, which in the end will produce an even deeper understanding of your audience, and more informed marketing decisions as a result.

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