Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A New Mindset for 2009

A friend of mine recently said something along the lines of, "I'd rather have more job security than a $5 shirt at the Gap."

We all have friends in our industry who have been laid off and we continue to see job cuts. Retailers continue to erode their margins in a need to push through high inventory levels and create demand. As shoppers, we might enjoy the deep discounts and promotions but it is going to be a tough reality come January 1st. It is time to change our approach.

In a declining economy, the landscape changes and new opportunities arise. Consumer behavior has changed for the long haul. Even the wealthiest consumers are more value-conscious. How are you changing your marketing and merchandising strategies based on a new consumer mindset?

A few questions to ask yourself:
> What are our customers willing to pay now for our core items vs. what they used to pay?
> Is there real value in what we offer and if there is, are we communicating it effectively?
> Where are our customers shopping now vs. two years ago?
> What are our competitors - from low ticket to high ticket- charging for the same product?
> Why should our customers continue to shop with us?
> Do our marketing programs effectively reach those consumers who are actually shopping with us?
> What new marketing and merchandising opportunities should we be considering, assuming it will take a long time for consumer confidence and spending to recover to previous highs?

Friday, December 5, 2008

Mid Season Holiday Sales Pulse- Tuesday Webinar

Please join me next Tuesday for our Holiday Tune-Up webinar. We are speeding towards the close of the holiday season- a season fraught with tough economic news and weak retail results. Many of you often ask me how other retailers are performing. We will talk through results by category, promotional strategies, what is working, and then look ahead to 2009. Please click on the below link to register for our webinar.

(copy and paste link if the url is not connecting)

We have partnered with NCR Ecommerce to co-host this webinar with us- they have terrific insight into other channels of business and we always learn something new in our conversations with them.

We look forward to connecting with you on Tuesday.

Happy Holidays!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Polly's Blog Today: 28 Promotions and Counting

I received a seemingly large volume of emails today, and as I was deleting them, I thought it might be helpful to list them out. The promotions are piling up this holiday season, from Eddie Bauer to Neiman Marcus, with more discounts than free shipping (so far).

In no particular order...

Eddie Bauer- Last Days: 30% Off Outerwear + Up to 60% Off 250 Styles!

Teleflora- Save 10% - Teleflora's Fall bouquets starting at $29.99!

Borders- 40% Off Holiday Music & More -- 2 Days Only

Coldwater Creek- $30 off + Favorite holiday looks (at fabulous prices!)

Frontgate- 20% Off Continues: Enjoy the Best of Outdoor Living

Sundance- Take 20% Off All Jewelry...But Hurry!

Ballard Designs- Shop our Estate Sale and save up to 65%

Teleflora- Introducing Teleflora's Colonial Williamsburg Sweepstakes! (yes, 2 emails in the same morning) Stay Warm & Save $15 on all Boots and Slippers of $40 or more!

Amazon- Free Super Saver Shipping to Kick-Start Your Holidays

Tiffany & Co - Complimentary Shipping Ends Today

Bluefly - One-Day SHOE SALE - Now up to 60% off

Ann Taylor - Final Day: 30% OFF Your Purchase

Overstock - LAST DAY 10% OFF

Neiman Marcus - NEW ARRIVALS: First Call SALE + Free online shipping AT ANY PRICE

Design Within Reach - Save up to 70% at the DWR Warehouse Sale

Restoration Hardware Baby & Child - Save 20% During our Friends and Family Event

Babies R Us - ONE DAY ONLY! Terrific Tuesday Savings, Veterans Day, Nov 11th

Lillian Vernon - Free Shipping on Christmas Gifts, Decor and More in the new catalog

All - 25% off entire stie & up to 75% off VINTAGE clearance

Personalization Mall - Countdown to Christmas 25% off

Omaha Steaks - Save up to 64% and Get Your Free Ham (first 1,000 orders only)

Discovery Store - Final Email Secret Sale - 20% Off Site-wide

Nordstrom - Free Holiday Shipping (Details Inside) Half-Yearly Sale: Save 40% or more

Eastern Mountain Sports - Up To 50% OFF* Your Holiday Shopping! Act Now!

Exposures - Exposures the more you buy the more you save

Circuit City - Veteran's Day Savings on HDTV's, laptops, cameras and more

Snapfish - Get 20% off our Holiday Catalog

The vast array of promotions this holiday season only tells us what we already know... there is no easy way out of this recession.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

How Much Change?

It’s November and our holiday season is officially here. The market is up and today’s election could make history. We are all planning for 09, and the number of revisions to our forecasts has hit double digits.

We are busy with cost-cutting measures, new initiatives, and plans to optimize our existing business (from page counts to merchandising). We can not use the economy as our excuse for weak sales and sit back and wait. Or can we?

Unfortunately, it is very difficult to understand, when you are down in sales 20% to LY, how much of that is the economy and how much of it is our own business decisions.

I was a Pottery Barn customer before I worked for Williams-Sonoma Inc., and I am still a Pottery Barn customer. This brand is struggling along with the rest of the home décor and furnishings market, but to my consumer eye, the catalog and the retail stores have never looked better. Perhaps expensive leather was not the right fall statement in a weak economy, but overall, the brand still looks great.

How do you preserve the brand you have created, while making changes to combat declining sales in a temporary economic climate?

Monday, October 20, 2008

In really tough times, we have to be smarter marketers. We have to find ways to do more with less. This means that creating valid, insightful tests is more important than ever. Here are some of the questions that require testing to answer:

*How will our rolling 12-month revenue per customer with an opt-in email be impacted by a reduction in catalog contacts?
*What is the incremental value of mailing catalogs to customers who only shop via web or at retail?
*Should we be emailing our lapsed customers with an opt-in email address every week (multiple times each week), or can we save on email costs by reducing the number of email contacts to this group?
*What is the incremental profit per customer with and without different types of promotions?
*What is the long term impact of the promotions we offer today?

All of these questions can be answered by setting up the right tests. Here are a few key rules:

1. Understand your expected response when you are selecting your segment sizes- you need enough orders to be statistically valid.
2. Only compare like groups. We all know this goes without saying. The segments in the test must be equal representations of the customer group in question (a random nth).
3. Only compare like segment sizes. Your segments must be the same size- comparing the results of a 25K test cell against a 200K control cell is not valid.
4. Don’t try to test too many variables at once. For example, using the same segments to measure the incremental value of mailing catalogs to web only customers AND creating a test to optimize your catalog/email contact strategy is hard to accomplish in one mailing unless you have large segment sizes.
5. Focus on creating a few, meaningful tests. For example, if you know you will always mail catalogs to your 0-12 month customers even if they have an email on file, then only test limiting catalogs to your lapsed customers or low dollar customers. If you know you would not give up mailing catalogs to your older customers unless they have an opt-in email address on file, then make sure you are only testing a segment with opt-in email addresses.
6. When testing promotions, consider the open use of the coupon code on the web and how you will account for those sales. When you look at the subsequent value of customers acquired with a promotion, be sure to include the initial costs of the offer.
7. Create sustainable control groups that last over a season (at least) and understand the prior contact history of customers in these control groups when you are evaluating results.

These are basic rules for tests that we are all aware of, but as we position ourselves to learn more and optimize our businesses in this economy, it is good to remember!

Friday, October 3, 2008

"Major in the Majors"

Clearly, it’s been a tough week. How our world has changed over the last few weeks and months:

-- We went from file growth planning to helping you determine the impact of closing stores. How much of the customer’s demand will shift to DTC and how much of it will be lost? What promotional contact strategies are necessary to continue to engage these store customers in other channels?

-- The focus on true contact strategies has kicked into gear, as you look to cut circulation and page counts in 2009 without impacting demand to the same degree.

-- The previous shift away from promotions to focus on the bottom line is swinging back to coupons as sales fall to plan and inventory backs up. Understanding the LTV of these discount customers is now more important than ever.

-- Communicating with investors is now part of our daily responsibilities as M&A activity continues in the world of direct marketing.

Yes, these are tough times. But for those who remain proactive and focused on those efforts that can truly move the needle, this is a time to fine-tune and evolve our marketing practices and come out on top. My mentor used to tell us to “major in the majors.” Now it couldn’t be truer.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

How Important is Promotional History?

It seems like common sense. If you mail Mary Jane your catalog, as a customer (because she spent $500 three years ago) or a prospect (because she shops from your core lists) for two years and she never responds, perhaps she is likely to never respond and you should stop mailing her the catalog.

We find that:
1) Promotional history is very rarely used in developing contact strategies for customers, and
2) For those who have done the analysis, promotional history is not as predictable as it seems it should be. Mary Jane repeatedly appears on your core prospect lists, so you keep mailing her even though she doesn’t buy, AND studies show that you should keep mailing her because a recent hit on a core list is more likely to predict a response to purchase.

The reason I bring this up is that I have been receiving the same home décor and furnishings catalogs for years without buying anything. I suspect I get them because I am a gift buyer from catalogs like Sundance and Acacia, and these catalogs are core files for many home brands.

Here’s the thing- even though I have not bought from these home décor and furnishings catalogs in a long time, I really enjoy looking through them. Now, I am buying a home and suddenly these old catalogs are coming off the shelves and my wallet is coming out.

How important is promotional history?

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

6 Ways to Segment Customers (Other than RFM)

1) Email Activity- (Last Opened Email)

Understand how recently a customer has opened an opt-in email from you. For example, Mary Jane is a lapsed customer that you are not planning to mail until you see that she just opened an email last month and she is engaged again with the brand.

2) Promotional History Flags - (Mailed Last 30, 60, or 90 days)

It can be difficult to execute contact strategies because customers are migrating in and out of segments. As a brand, you may make a decision that you want to contact even your most lapsed customers once a quarter. If you add flags to your backend or promotional history, you can just select those names from an older segment that have not been mailed in the last 60 or 90 days.

3) Source of Acquisition- (This is something you hear from me a lot!)

Defining customers as web only does not tell us a whole lot, especially how responsive they are likely to be to the catalog. Understanding that a customer is a catalog-driven web customer or a pure web only drive from a program like non-branded paid search or affiliates is critical to optimizing contacts and costs. It also requires storing matchback data on your database.

4) Product Category- (Might seem obvious to some of you but it is still rarely used)

We most often see product categories included in the segmentation for apparel companies where differentiating shoe or accessories buyers is important, but it also has implications for general merchandise, children’s, gift, and home décor and furnishings.

5) Sale/Discount/Free Shipping Buyers- (These are large segments of customers for most retailers now)

Try testing different segments based on their type of purchase- full price, free shipping, discount, sale, etc. You may find that certain segments of buyers are more responsive to different contact frequencies/messages.

6) Presence of Opt in Email (Critical for optimizing catalog/email contacts)

Similar to the promotional history flags, adding a flag to your backend for presence of opt in email can also help you decide who to mail and who not to mail when you are cutting back circulation, especially to marginal segments. If customers will hear from you anyways, there is less risk in reducing catalog contacts (though it should be tested first!).

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Opportunities to Consider for 2009

(In no particular order...)

  1. Integrate cross-channel databases, linking web behavior with promotional history
  2. Improve buyer definitions on house segmentation and list rental files- identifying pure web onlys vs. catalog-driven web onlys
  3. Revisit testing across the board- more cost-effective creative versions, prospect sources outside of core files, contact strategies for lapsed customers and requestors, etc.
  4. Launch at least three forms of auto-triggered email marketing, such as shopping cart abandonment
  5. Consider replacing some of your core catalogs with smaller, less-expensive brochure-like pieces intended to bring the brand top of mind and drive the customer to your web and retail channels of business
  6. Concentrate on lapsed customers with multi purchases (vs. dollar spent) who have purchased at least 1x in each of the prior 2 yrs but who have not purchased in the last 12 months; test sending them a special mailing, ie: we miss you with an offer
  7. Offer customers contact preferences for method and frequency- perhaps some customers only want the first catalog of each season
  8. Find one way to leverage social media for your business- it comes in many forms!
  9. Revisit non-traditional advertising opportunities like space advertising and package inserts
  10. Talk about how to reach the growing, affluent youth market- the traditional catalog customer base is aging
  11. Consider brand/product spin-offs to increase share of wallet with your existing customers- still cheaper than cold prospecting
  12. Consider mobile marketing and a dedicated mobile website, especially if you have a younger audience and/or a large retail presence
  13. Offer additional payment methods: BillMeLater, Google Checkout, PayPal, etc. According to a recent article, sales increased an average 14% for retailers offering 3 or more payment methods (Website Magazine, August 2008)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

$3.00 for One Click?

Back in my days in Ecommerce at Eddie Bauer and RedEnvelope, success was so easy!! Clicks for major keywords cost, at most, $0.75; all of our reporting was purely cookie-based, without any understanding of how many of our web buyers were influenced by offline marketing. Our ad cost was 15% (or so we thought). It was fun- we were all rock stars.

Online marketers are just now feeling the pinch that direct mail marketers have been feeling for the last few years. As catalogers have battled rising costs across the board, online retailers are now faced with incredibly high costs, driven up by competition:

Cost per click for the keyword “gift baskets” - $3.00 (on a good day)
Cost per click for the keyword “food gifts” - $1.80
Affiliate revenue share for the shoe category- 25%
Cost to send an 80-page catalog- $0.65

We also know that, depending on the retailer, 30% to 60% of the buyers from paid search and affiliates were first mailed a catalog.

Two scenarios:

$100,000 Spent on Non-Branded Paid Search
$2 Cost per Click
50,000 Clicks
3% Conversion Rate
$100 AOV
$150,000 in Sales
67% Ad Cost, not including the cost of any catalogs mailed to these buyers

$100,000 Spent on Catalogs to Targeted Lapsed Customers (Reactivation)
$0.65 Cost per catalog
154K in Circulation
2% Response Rate
$100 AOV
$308,000 in Sales
32% Ad Cost

Acquisition, in all forms (paid search, affiliates, catalog prospecting), is more expensive than ever in this economy. Two recommendations for your 09 planning:
1) Housefile Reactivation, via email and direct mail
2) Website initiatives to improve conversion rates- these efforts will improve the ROI of all marketing programs

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Future of Catalog Acquisition?

Much has been written about the future of catalog acquisition, with the growth of ecommerce, the bankruptcy of so many major mailers in the last year, and now, the green movement and consumer opt-out programs.

But I wonder how many truly targeted acquisition opportunities exist today where we can proactively drive new consumer demand. As marketers, we can’t control how many consumers each month will search for “wood daybed” or “turquoise necklace” on Google. And Mary Jane doesn’t just wake up one morning, unaided, and decide to type in your brand name.

Viva La Terra and Acacia are two of my favorite catalogs I just discovered in the last year. I received each of these catalogs a few times as a prospect before a need (in one case, Mother’s day) drove me to the web to make my purchase.

Now, I am by no means a traditional direct shopper. I could probably count on my hands the number of phone orders I have placed in my life. And I prefer the immediate gratification of in store retail shopping more than anything, but I find more and more that the merchandise in retail stores is the same, same, same.

Did mailers potentially mail too deep as response rates declined? Or did response rates decline because we pushed too deep?

Web merchandising has a long way to go before it can deliver the advertising impact of a well-executed catalog. It’s time we shifted our thinking to the catalog as a targeted advertising vehicle, rather than an order channel. The question we should be asking is whether we can make the same advertising impact with 40 pages instead of 80???

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Product is King

It’s not all doom and gloom. I talked with a handful of clients in the past week who are pleased with results this summer. (Of course, it depends on how you define success- sales growth vs. LY, improvements in operating profit, achieving Plan.)

As Kevin Hillstrom pointed out in a recent blog, it is frustrating to read headlines such as Five Easy Tips to Boost Business- as if anything is easy right now! But it got me thinking about the similarities in recent strategy for the brands reporting success. It also reminds me of something we used to say at Eddie Bauer…

Product is King.

Some marketers have a tough time admitting this, but even the most brilliant marketing strategy can only sell so much mediocre product.

Some of the companies achieving strong results this summer include brands in the following categories- home furnishings, children’s merchandise, and specialty gift. The one common element they all share is an intense focus on the “freshness” of their merchandise strategy: introducing new product, spinning existing product in a fresh way, providing content and solutions, establishing authority, and putting a new look on the catalog creative.

These brands prove that it’s possible to succeed even with all the challenges we face!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Speaking Out on Postal Reform

With prices increasing in all phases of our business, it sometimes feels that we are at the mercy of the postage system, paper vendors, and other suppliers.

Last week, the American Catalog Mailers Association (ACMA) held an advocacy and strategy forum in Washington, DC. As an industry, we have been remiss in making our collective voices heard.

Representatives from the USPS, PRC and Congress indicated that they had very limited contact from catalog mailers and the lack of contact allowed other special interest groups to gain ground and to adversely affect the industry.

We need to be speaking directly with our local representatives, to help them understand the impact of postal increases on our businesses. Here are some tips on how to connect with your representative:

1) Assign someone as your Postal Reform Advocate
2) Write a letter to your Congress representatives
3) Be specific about your individual issue (avoid form letters)
4) Reference how many constituents in your district will be impacted by your issue
a. Potential jobs lost is a powerful argument with Congress
5) If you have multiple locations – write letters to all representatives
6) The letter will start a file – so keep in contact via email, letters, calls, etc.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Consumer Trends- DIY and Customization

It seems like at least once a day I encounter a new example of the huge trend of DIY and customization. Just today I received one of my favorite weekly email newsletters, from, and learned about a new retail store called FashionologyLA ( Customers (think tween and teen girls) have the opportunity to design and create their own clothing. The store is appropriately located in Beverly Hills, CA. The design process starts when they walk through the door and customers are able to walk out with their custom designed garments that very day. Brilliant.

While this is especially key for brands focused on young consumers, it should be top of mind for all retailers. Are you offering your customers an opportunity to customize their experience with your brand? There are so many ways to capitalize on this trend:

*Home Furnishings – check out Bassett Furniture ( They offer a multitude of opportunities for customization. For example, you can design your own dinning table: you choose the finish, table size…you name it! They don’t just offer fabric choices for their couches…you can choose the arm style, cushions, even the type of legs.

*Fashion – there are many online only DIY design shops out there. Check out and design your own dress. Or go to and design your very own custom purse. What well-known multi channel apparel brands are capitalizing on this DIY trend? Not many that I could find…big opportunity!

*Domestics – check out and design your own duvet cover. Ballard Designs ( has a large customization section on their web site, offering custom bedding, curtains and more (and the fabric choices are vast – check it out!)

Many large brands that offer customizable products don’t highlight it enough. Why not feature it in an upcoming email? Consider a call out on a hot-spot page in your next catalog? If you do offer DIY in some form, would people find you in a targeted web search focused on customization in your product category? Even if this doesn’t apply to your business as it stands today, think about it the next time you’re asked for an out of the box idea on how to grow your brand!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Promotions- Friend or Foe?

I think we can almost all agree that we'd love to have a healthy active file of customers who shop at full price, eliminating the need to promote expensive offers that eat away at the bottom line! Unfortunately, in an economy where even the luxury market is taking a hit, it's hard to compete at full price. A recent report by comScore noted that "rising prices" was the number one concern for consumers, regardless of their income range. In fact, it was highest for the $100K+ HHI group.

More and more, we are hearing from clients that they are cutting back on promotions, especially during the fall/holiday season. The offer frenzy of the last few years has taken a toll on financial statements. On the flip side, clients are also looking to use promotions in a more proactive, strategic way.

We are seeing a renewed focus on the customer experience and lifecycle with the brand. Opportunities to proactively plan offers include:
1) New customer thank you program- Welcome to the brand (increases repeat purchase rates)
2) Event-triggered promotions, ranging from birthdays to shopping cart abandonment
3) Reactivation of lapsed customers (still less expensive, in most cases, than external prospecting)

There is good news. We have done extensive subsequent value studies on the impact of discounts, free shipping, and sale offers. Nine out of ten times we find that the subsequent value of customers acquired with a discount is higher in the long run than full price customers. The goal when testing offers is to focus on the impact to your average order size- and of course the bottom line. The more a customer spends initially, the more valuable they are in the long run.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Revisiting Email List Rental

The notion of email list rental surfaces every few years, after we've had a chance to forget the terrible ROI from our last hopeful test. We are all searching and digging for new customer acquisition opportunities, for ways to increase overall responsiveness from our prospects. And it seems that email list rental is again a hot topic.

Today, email opt-in lists are supposed to be "cleaner" and "enhanced" with more traditional RFM data- some sources even work with the co-ops to leverage their wealth of transactional data. You can also rent an email address to match a postal address for a prospect.

Unfortunately, the email marketing industry has been plagued with spam and over-saturation of contacts to consumers- with most companies mailing twice a week and some companies even mailing daily. Email is almost too good (cheap) to be true!

When it comes down to ROI, the numbers speak for themselves. For example:

1) You spend $6,000 to rent 100K qualified email addresses (approx. $0.06 per email address) and another $500 to deploy the campaign.

2) If you assume lower open rates and click through rates than your email housefile, then perhaps you might get an 8% open rate and a 4% click through rate, delivering 320 visitors to your site.

3) If those 320 visitors have a 3% conversion rate on your website, then you end up with 10 transactions. At a $150 AOV, your total demand is $1,500.

Clearly, spending $6,500 for $1,500 in demand is not profitable. We have run the math several ways, and even with a postal address, it's difficult to make the ROI work.

If you are one of the few lucky ones who can make email list rental work, please share your story with us!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Remembering the Fundamentals

With the outstanding growth of Ecommerce AND the continuous effort for marketing integration and advanced analytics (not to mention all the ad hoc requests that keep us occupied!), it’s easy to let some of the basic, core fundamentals of Catalog Marketing slip by. Here are five things to check off:

1. Identify the Percentage of Circulation Above and Below Breakeven season over season, year over year (70% to 80% above breakeven is most common)

2. Fully Loaded $/Bk Breakeven at various payback periods up to 24 months, and how it varies for reactivation vs. internal prospecting (for multi-title brands), and outside lists

3. Cum Cell Analysis to determine how much you can mail in any given drop or season based on your company goals- balancing active file growth with contribution is always key!

4. Catalog Matchbacks have become standard in our industry, with over 90% of our clients running them on a regular basis; we recommend you measure fully-loaded matchbacks (100% of transactions 60 days post mailing) and then apply your incremental factors from there

5. Contact Reporting is more critical than ever as we try to optimize costs; for every primary segment of customers, you should be able to determine their average number of catalog and email contacts per season and per year

This Basics List does not include some of our favorites like developing control panels for frequency testing and optimizing your catalog/email strategy. Not to mention, integrated email and catalog segmentation!

Stay tuned for 5 Online Marketing basics to check off…

What key reporting is on your to-do list?

Monday, June 2, 2008

Welcome to the inaugural issue of Directly Speaking!

Directly Speaking is published by Belardi/Ostroy and its Growth Strategies Group. We bring you this resource to better understand and help navigate through the myriad challenges and opportunities facing marketers today. Out in the general world, a weak economy, record gas and fuel prices, credit and mortgage crises and declining consumer confidence have greatly impacted marketers' overall performance. In our world, catalog glut, declining response rates and the quest to efficiently integrate marketing efforts across channels are just some of the challenges our clients are facing. So how do we proactively respond so that business not only survives, but thrives?

We're fortunate to work with dozens of best in class brands. Through these relationships, we understand leading-edge best practices and have created systems and services allowing us to become part of the solution. Over time through Directly Speaking, we'll be sharing this knowledge and expertise with you in many different ways, providing some insightful food for thought as well as more tangible ideas for growth.

We also wish to provide a forum for you to share your questions and thoughts on how the industry is challenged, what you're experiencing firsthand, and how you might be addressing these same issues. We're excited to hear from you and look forward to a great exchange of ideas!

The proof is in the data

Everyone has an opinion, including us! But one thing we can all agree on as direct marketers is that the proof is in the data…

There are at least five questions you should be able to answer about every one of your marketing efforts, from catalog prospecting to paid search and affiliates:

  • How many of the buyers (by marketing program) were new, active, or lapsed customers prior to their purchase through the program?
  • How many times had these buyers been contacted by your brand via direct mail or email prior to their purchase through the program?
  • What is the total marketing cost of the program when you consider their path to purchase (i.e. how many other marketing touchpoints were involved in their transaction)?
  • How does the 12M and 24M Subsequent Revenue and Profit per Customer vary based on the source of acquisition?
  • How much marketing demand across channels is really incremental based on consistent hold out groups?

Allocating costs & demand

We believe, like most of you, that today you have to be Channel Agnostic. You don’t care where the customer buys, as long as they buy! But this is too easily said and rarely done. Our P&L statements force the issue of allocating costs and demand, creating a need to justify every marketing investment dollar.

The way we see it, you have only a few choices:
  1. Simple assignment of customers to the last marketing effort that influenced their purchase- if only it were that easy! How do you define influence?
  2. Assignment of customers across the multiple marketing contacts influencing their purchase- ideal but fractionalizing demand is easier than fractionalizing customer behavior! How do you split Mary Jane between your catalog, email, and paid search program?

So, where does this leave us?