Marketing Frontier

Strategies for a data-driven marketing world

Right product, right time…

Posted by marketingfrontier on November 17, 2006

Ever receive an email from a supplier that could be the right product, but just reaches you at the wrong time?  We did recently, when we received a solicitation for a new commercial printer/copier for our office.  The solicitation was well done, the offer (financing) compelling, but the timing was all wrong — we moved into new office space three months ago, and bought our new equipment in the following several weeks.  The best offers don’t result in sales when the timing is off.

Adding the component of time to customer targeting can provide a substantial increase in response, revenue and profit.  But how can you add time without adding excessive complexity to your marketing analytics and profit?

Many companies would say that they do incorporate time into their marketing programs.  After all, don’t they create seasonal offers all the time?

The problem with purely seasonal offers is the assumption that key customers make their purchases triggered primarily by the season.  Now, for some products this is undoubtedly true.  Skis are purchased in the Fall primarily, and few people purchase bathing suits in winter.  That is, unless they are traveling to a warmer climate for vacation, true? 

The best way to understand customer purchase timing is to understand customer purchase lifecycle.  That understanding is what was missing in the copier offer for my office.  The offer may have come at the beginning of the calendar year, when budgets are often fresh, but our own personal lifecycle meant that we made the purchases earlier and the company lost out.

How do you understand customer purchase lifecycle?  The key to that understanding is to leverage customer data and understand typical product-level lifecycles for a specific segment.  Then that knowledge can be applied to other customers in the segment to identify lifecycle opportunities.

More on how you actually do this analysis and what you do with it, in my next missive.

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