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What Will Campaign Management Be Like In 2020? December 30, 2008

Posted by Elana Anderson in Database Marketing, Integrated Marketing, Marketing, Marketing Technology, Online Marketing, Product Marketing, Web Analytics.
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12 comments

I was recently asked what I thought Campaign Management software would be like in 2020. My quick (and somewhat flip) answer is to bemoan the seemingly slow pace at which marketing software has evolved to date. After all, as scary as it may be, 2020 is only 11 years away!

What were you doing 11 years ago? I was working on a project with Eddie Bauer to build a big marketing data warehouse and implement software to explore and mine customer data. Our business objectives? Better understand and drive cross-channel behavior, increase the effectiveness of EB’s catalog marketing efforts, and increase the synergy between the direct (catalog) and  and retail channels. Fast forward to today, I continue to see lots of projects that sound very much like that one.

But, to be fair, the marketing world has also changed dramatically in 11 years. Eleven years ago, eCommerce was new and order volumes were low. Eddie Bauer and most other leading multi-channel retailers, were still printing online orders and entering them by hand into the catalog order system. Marketing (and CRM) technology has also largely evolved in this same time period. We’ve seen the growth and demise of great companies like Exchange Applications, Prime Response, and Epiphany. We’ve seen the development of categories like eCommerce and Web Analytics (Omniture has evolved a lot from its early days as SuperStats.com and MyComputer.com).

So, back to the question at hand. What will Campaign Management be like in 2020? I preface my comments with the above to explain why I apply a measure of realism to my fantasies around how dramatically Campaign Management will change in the next 11 years. The technology will change at the rate at which marketing organizations can absorb it. And, the biggest barrier to technology absorption — at least in my experience — is the maturity of the marketing organization and its processes. IT can be another key barrier — a barrier which can be reduced to an extent by on demand solutions. The other bright side of on demand — as I wrote about more than two years ago on Forrester’s Marketing Blog – is that the development innovation cycle can be dramatically decreased.

With the above as preface, my thoughts (appropriately influenced by my current and former colleagues — some of the brightest minds in the marketing technology sector) on Campaign Management in 2020…

What is Campaign Management Anyway?

One key thing that the industry (vendors, analysts, et al) needs to consider is that what we think of as Campaign Management today is not campaign management at all from the marketer perspective. Specifically, the industry largely defines Campaign Management as technology to support outbound direct marketing campaigns. It’s time to take a broader view. To start, we must incorporate the management of marketing communications through inbound marketing channels into the definition. But beyond that, if you really think about how marketers define “campaigns” ( i.e., inclusive of a much broader set of campaign types ranging across direct, online, and traditional mass media), then the definition of Campaign Management needs to expand to enable marketing to manage, automate, and measure any type of marketing campaign. Interestingly, this makes what the industry defines today as Marketing Resource Management (MRM) or Marketing Operations Management (MOM) really Campaign Management (I have  never been that keen on terms anyway;-)… It also means that what we know of today as Campaign Management really becomes Centralized Customer Decisioning, Customer Decision Management, or Customer Message Management (none of those are great and I’d love to hear more suggestions, but you get the idea).

Immediate Evolution of Campaign Management

In the immediate term, we absolutely need to see campaign management solutions expanding to provide two key things:

  1. Integrated support for inbound and outbound marketing. Simply put, Campaign Management solutions can no longer just support outbound marketing. Response rates to outbound marketing activities are continuing to decline and inbound channels (online and offline) offer a tremendous opportunity to interact with an engaged customer. While some CM solutions today have inbound capabilities, the fact that these capabilities are not integrated with the outbound capabilities presents another significant challenge to marketers. The vast majority of companies identify “improving customer experience” as a key corporate priority. The idea of centralized decisioning — which integrates inbound and outbound messaging driven by rich interaction history — is core to helping firms carry interactions seamlessly beyond a single channel.
  2. Integrated support for online and offline. Most of us recognize that companies can no longer treat the Internet as “new media” or a standalone skunk works marketing function separate from the rest of the marketing organization. Interestingly, the kinds of things that onlinemarketing groups are trying to do today requires many of the core capabilities that most Campaign Management applications possess. But Campaign Management also needs to evolve to deal much more effectively with visitor anonymity, online behavioral data, and web channels. Beyond that, it must also better support marketing’s need to integrate across online channels themselves (yes, current technologies do a poor job of helping marketers integrate their online efforts much less online and offline!) as well as offline or traditional channels. 

What Will Happen to Campaign Management Next

When we think beyond the more immediate future, there are some important mid-term priorities:

  • Campaign Management must improve and consolidate response attribution. Campaign Management solutions across the board do a mediocre job of capturing and attributing responses. And, this ability needs to extend beyond the attribution to direct marketing offers, but also merge that with touch points such as: an organic search click through, a TV commercial that is running in the area of the customer with a reach of x% of that area’s population, even a banner or video insert ad view on the Internet at the extreme. The other major piece is the ability to evaluate a series of responses to marketing messages to understand the role that each message or the combination of messages has in getting to the final outcome.
  • Campaign Management must evolve to support new channels. We are finally starting to see interest in mobile channels really heat up (in the US, not just EMEA and APAC). So far execution (i.e., real action) is still primarily focused on SMS/MMS but the exciting shift will be as more consumers adopt advanced mobile devices and further leverage mobile browsers, GPS, etc. Socialchannels are another good example, Campaign Management needs to figure out how to integrate with and support messaging through social networks and communities. Some of this is possible today but the capabilities need to be fleshed out in much more detail.
  • Open EMM will emerge. Feeding off of the need to support new channels, Campaign Management vendors must recognize and accept that  innovation is happening the fastest within the channels and media itself. We’ll see technology like HTML, Flash, SVG, TV, eInk/flexible displays, etc. changing so significantly that our notions of landing pages and website offers, web calls to action, and product placement must change along with it. Marketing software has to be brilliant at decisioning, optimization, and integration as well as pulling all marketing activities together to support cohesive planning, management, and measurement, but the software should never hold back the media and channel innovators from pushing the envelope. So, Campaign Management (call it Enterprise Marketing Management if you like) must provide a system of record and flexible application framework into which channel applications can effectively “plug in.” There will never be a single application that does everything for marketing soup to nuts (and marketing groups will never accept one), the key is for the core software platform to provide the organizing framework, the message decisioning infrastructure, and the measurement capability.
  • SaaS CM will rise and then move into the cloud. Over the next five years the lion’s share of marketing technology innovation will be in software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions. As the definition of Campaign Management expands (as noted above) and extends from core direct marketing groups into online groups and into new vertical markets, appetite for easy-to-implement, easy-to-use, lower TCO solutions will escalate. As I also noted previously, a nice by-product of SaaS will be more rapid innovation in the marketing technology sector. But, few highly successful software companies manage their own hosting operations — applications are designed for mega hosting infrastructures (e.g., Microsoft, IBM, Google, Amazon) that have a-million-plus-nodes hosting infrastructure. Smart software companies will design and optimize their apps to leverage virtual servers and storage offered by emerging cloud computing infrastructures.

Beyond these ideas we can dream of technology that supports fully automated marketing processes and black box decisioning, tools that simplify marketing complexity and support collaborative, viral, and community marketing (I don’t know about you, but the ads on Facebook are already starting to get to me!)… We can further imagine that marketing and buyers have a mutual love:love relationship and that marketing has ceased its shouting and focuses purely in a service-oriented role. We’ll continue to work towards that and I’ll continue to preach to it, but if you want me to put my money on the table, I’m telling you that this kind of nirvana is more than 11 years away.

Happy New Year everyone!  I’d love to hear what you are thinking along these lines.

See my interview on InsideCRM December 9, 2008

Posted by Elana Anderson in Database Marketing, Integrated Marketing, Marketing, Marketing Technology.
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1 comment so far

I’ve gotten some comments and emails from blog readers recently asking me where I’ve been and why I haven’t posted lately. SORRY! The new job at Unica has been very, very busy – somewhat all consuming really. I have been traveling a ton recently and spending a lot of time with customers and prospects. I will pull myself together and share some more detailed thoughts soon.  

In the mean time, here are a couple of links to recent publications and events:

I’ll be back again soon.

Participate in Forrester Research Direct Marketing Survey August 31, 2008

Posted by Elana Anderson in Database Marketing, Marketing Technology.
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My former colleagues at Forrester Research have launched a survey focused on marketing technology usage and adoption as well as marketer’s relationships with internal and external partners. The survey is global in scope and focused on marketing decision-makers having broad responsibility over direct and relationship marketing programs. In exchange for participating in the survey, Forrester is offering a free copy of a recent report and will also share the research report(s) that result from the survey once they are published.

If you are a marketing decision-maker from a large company, please take 10-15 minutes to respond to the survey. Thank you in advance for your participation!

Next Generation Campaign Management August 18, 2008

Posted by Elana Anderson in Database Marketing, Integrated Marketing, Marketing Technology, Online Marketing.
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Campaign-management technology has long been associated with the creation and deployment of outbound marketing campaigns. It’s time to change that. Marketing can no longer afford to simply act as a bullhorn pushing the product du jour or blasting cross-sell and up-sell offers.

Marketing experts have been talking about ad overload for years now. Simply put:

  • Consumers are overwhelmed with ad content.
  • They are tuning the messages out.
  • Response rates are declining while costs are rising.

Marketing organizations must evolve by shifting their communications strategy away from one-size fits all push marketing to a more customer-centric strategy that leverages the increasing proliferation of addressable channels and strives for responsiveness to individual customer behaviors. This shift requires marketing organizations to get beyond the old-style outbound campaign construct and seek to engage customers and prospects in a cross-channel dialog that builds upon their past and current behavior (I refer to this new style of marketing as interactive marketing). To do this effectively, marketers need technologies that enable them to:

  • Listen to all information provided by customers and prospects — both explicit and implied.
  • Understand past and present information to determine the best possible marketing action.
  • Communicate in a compelling, timely, and relevant manner.

What’s more, technologies must enable marketers to interact across inbound as well as outbound channels in an integrated way. Enter next-generation campaign management.

Characteristics of Next-Generation Campaign Management

Helping marketing organizations achieve this transition requires marketing technology providers to step up and outside the box. Campaign management is no longer about segmentation and list pull. Next-generation campaign management technologies must emerge that:

  • Are customer-aware. The key to listening is the ability to capture what a buyer is saying — both explicitly and implicitly — and to process that information to determine what to say next. This requires a campaign-management solution that has the capability to leverage and process both a customer’s past history, as well as present situation, in order to make predictions about likely future behavior.
  • Provide centralized decision making. Capturing both what the customer says, as well as how he responds to what you say, is fundamental to the shift to interactive marketing. That means next-generation campaign management solutions must provide a centralized decision-making capability that determines the best marketing message to extend in outbound and inbound marketing channels — online and offline.
  • Enable cross-channel execution. Your buyers interact with you across multiple channels and expect both a consistent and seamless experience as they move between channels. Anyone involved with a customer experience initiative knows this is a hard problem to solve. Next-generation campaign management solutions can help. By enabling cross-channel (inbound/outbound, online/offline) execution and providing the fundamental capability to compile a comprehensive marketing communication and response history, next-generation campaign management can help drive message and treatment consistency as well as a seamless experience as customers interact with the enterprise.
  • Integrate marketing operations. In any mid-sized or large company today, effective interactive marketing along the lines of what I’m describing has a lot of moving parts and requires collaboration across many disparate groups within the marketing function. To ease these challenges, next-generation campaign management must help marketers improve collaboration and facilitate cross-channel planning, design, execution, and measurement.

Fusing Relationship Marketing And Online Marketing July 22, 2008

Posted by Elana Anderson in Database Marketing, Integrated Marketing, Marketing Strategy, Online Marketing.
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For nearly the past 15 years, my career has been focused on helping marketers leverage data to better understand and more effectively market to customers on an individual level. In my early days in the industry, I worked primarily with marketing groups leveraging offline channels like catalogs and other forms of direct mail. In recent years, I’ve spent most of my time working with relationship marketing and database marketing groups and with online marketing groups. What amazes me (and is my key topic of my post today) is that while these marketers view themselves as so different they are really starting to converge.

Marketing Channels Are Evolving

There’s lots of change happening in the marketing domain. It’s a time of uncertainty but also one of opportunity.  Marketing channels are evolving at a rapid rate:

  • Mass media is less and less effective as audiences fragment and adopt technologies and tools (like DVRs) that enable them to tune out ads.
  • The Internet is no longer “new media” since most consumers are online.
  • Traditional outbound direct marketing channels require more analytic sophistication as response rates decline and more states consider and adopt privacy legislation.

Addressability Is the Common Link

Addressable channels are channels both outbound and inbound – through which marketing can communicate directly with an individual – identifiable or anonymous. This includes traditional direct marketing channels including direct mail and phone, internet channels like Web sites, email, mobile, and social media and, as technology and distribution capabilities continue to evolve, even traditional mass marketing channels like TV, billboards, and radio.

As addressable channels become more prevalent, marketers are recognizing that they need new skills to effectively engage, communicate, and interact with customers. Specifically, marketers must:

  • Listen to all information provided by customers and prospects – both explicit and implied.
  • Understand past and present information to determine the best possible marketing action.
  • Communicate in a compelling, timely, and relevant manner.

What’s more, marketers must do this across inbound as well as outbound channels and in an integrated way.

Interactive Marketing Will Emerge As A Dominant Marketing Discipline

I believe that the best term to describe the fusion of these capabilities is “interactive marketing” which I will define as:

Engaging each customer and prospect in a cross-channel dialog that builds upon their past and current behavior.

Although the term isn’t new, few (other than Prof. John Deighton of Harvard who is widely credited with coining the term) define it as broadly as I have here.

What’s interesting is that, in many organizations, the required capabilities already reside in different parts of the company – relationship marketing, database marketing, online marketing, ecommerce, etc. Unfortunately, rather than integrating these skills many of the companies I talk with are adding duplicate capabilities within stovepipe marketing groups. The result? A widening gap between “online” and “direct” marketing functions.

Rather than continuing to grow the silos, companies should explore cross-training, opening lines of communication, and integrating marketing teams that communicate with customers via addressable channels.

Customer Service Is A Crucial Marketing Channel May 20, 2008

Posted by Elana Anderson in Customer Experience, Database Marketing, Integrated Marketing, Marketing.
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3 comments

I realize that the title of this post already has some customer service gurus cringing. No, my point is not to turn service interactions into one-way communication streams in which the customer’s needs are minimized while CSRs focus on pushy “retention,” cross-sell, or upsell efforts… And, if you are familiar with any of my prior writings then you know that I hold marketing responsible for customer experience. With that quick frame of reference, inbound service interactions are ideal for marketing because the customer:

  • Is engaged, by choice.
  • Actively provides information that points to problems or needs.
  • May have a need now that, if missed, becomes a lost opportunity.

But, strategies to leverage customer service as a marketing channel will fail if we approach customer interactions with the traditional marketing mindset – let’s tell customers what we want him to hear. Many of us have been talking about this for years, but the time has come. Firms must shift communications strategies away from one-size fits all push marketing – to one that is responsive to individual customer behaviors. To make the shift successfully, marketing organizations must get beyond the old style campaign construct. The very term “campaign” conjures up the image of a bullhorn – marketers shouting out what they want their audience to hear. With the control and choice that consumers have today, marketing must be more flexible — more agile. Marketing and service organizations must align their strategies and:

  • Recognize that every service interaction has potential brand impact. Many customer service centers are measured purely by cost metrics and that result in processes that are internally focused, not customer-focused. Most consumers can recount nightmarish customer service experiences and, today, many are well publicized by jaded customers through vehicles like YouTube. I’m not purporting that cost metrics aren’t important. But, the cost of losing a customer due to a terrible service interaction or the word of mouth associated with broad exposure by disgruntled customers through today’s social channels must also be taken into consideration. And, yes, it is hard to account for all of these costs in an financial spreadsheet. At a minimum, firms can start by mapping and understanding processes from the outside in – that is the customer point of view – as well as the inside out.
  • Consider each interaction as an opportunity to establish an emotional connection. Years ago we talked about “delighting” the customer… The term always struck me as corny and I’ve noticed that I, as a consumer, am so jaded by my past customer service experiences that I am pleasantly surprised when I get a friendly voice on the other end of the phone that sounds genuinely eager to help me out or empathizes with me if I am upset. Again, it starts with the little things — like being human.
  • Only possibly, seek extend the financial relationship. As I’ve already indicated, customer service interactions present an opportunity in which customers will willingly provide information in exchange for value. This exchange may yield an opportunity but, it requires active listening and capturing information in real time relative to customer’s issues and needs. Using the interaction to push the product du jour — while it may work occasionally — is more likely to be rejected, potentially annoy your customer, and increase your call time.

As I write this, I admit that I have concerns that what I write will be misconstrued or misused. I’ve been talking in public forums about the intersection between marketing and service since 2002. Unfortunately, while companies in many industries have taken steps to turn their customer service centers into revenue generators, I believe that most have done so to the detriment of the customer experience. That is, they view inbound service interactions only from the perspective of the potential financial benefit that could result from selling something new, extending a contract, etc. These companies are still operating in one-way mode and failing to recognize that they have an opportunity to establish a dialog with their customer.

Technology’s Role In Differentiating Customer Experiences April 29, 2008

Posted by Elana Anderson in Customer Experience, Database Marketing, Integrated Marketing, Marketing, Marketing Technology, Online Marketing.
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8 comments

Marketing organizations are contributing to customer experience initiatives by working to deliver more relevant content in both outbound and inbound channels. While technology is certainly no silver bullet, marketing organizations are turning to technology to help them:

  • Automate. As marketing organizations seek to deliver more relevant and individualized customer experiences they begin to change their marketing communications mix away from a pure outbound push model to incorporate messaging tactics driven by customer behaviors and actions. In addition to being very responsive to the customer, these tactics are ideal because they can be automated. Today’s campaign management solutions are maturing beyond support for the traditional push campaigns to facilitate campaign automation through functions like real-time data integration and event detection, multi-stage campaign process flows, and business-rule-driven automation.
  • Collaborate. Relevance is not just about the message. Relevance requires an equal focus on time and place. And, when considered from the customer’s perspective, relevance is inherently multichannel and integrated. As marketing organizations work to increase their relevance, become more customer-focused, and create differentiated customer experiences, they will need to collaborate more – a lot more – with other marketing teams and with other functional areas of the company (like customer service). Marketing resource management technology can help facilitate collaboration by providing a consolidated marketing calendar, establishing common work areas for virtual teams, and facilitating processes, as interdisciplinary teams work to design, build, and launch integrated programs.
  • Integrate. Integration is a fundamental requirement of relevant marketing. Whether it is integrating disparate data from various systems across the enterprise or integrating teams to streamline marketing processes, technology is required. Moreover, marketing application suites that are themselves integrated and support the entire marketing process – from planning through design, execution, and measurement – can dramatically simplify the complexity that marketers face as they work to become more relevant and customer-focused.

Marketing Organizations Must Increase Their Technology IQ

Just as technology is a critical enabler of relevant marketing, it can also be a major barrier. Why? Many marketing organizations don’t take enough ownership of technology. Marketers – and the technology groups that support them – must recognize that technology is a key component of marketing operations – that relevant marketing requires day-to-day access to data and iterative levels of analysis, needs not well-met by traditional project-focused IT organizations. Marketing organizations that want to differentiate customer experiences through customer-focused and relevant marketing communications and content delivery must bring technology expertise under the umbrella of the marketing organization – either internally or through a trusted services partner that behaves as an extension of the marketing team.

My Latest Research: Marketing Beyond The Status Quo April 23, 2008

Posted by Elana Anderson in Customer Analytics, Customer Experience, Database Marketing, Integrated Marketing, Marketing, Marketing Technology, Online Marketing.
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2 comments

I am very excited to announce the launch of my latest research, “Marketing Beyond The Status Quo.” The research, sponsored by my friends at Responsys, seeks to help marketing organizations assess and address the barriers that prevent them from being more customer-focused, relevant, and integrated. The report unveils the Marketing Status Quo (MSQ) Model – backed by a diagnostic self-test and step-by-step program guide – to help marketers determine their relevance maturity and develop a realistic action plan to become more customer-focused.

The MSQ Model assesses the fundamental competencies required for marketing relevance:

  • Strategic: How customer-focused are your marketing efforts?
  • Analytical:How strategic and actionable is your customer insight?
  • Technical: How well-suited is your infrastructure to support customer-focused marketing?
  • Process: How collaborative, efficient and error-free are your marketing operations?

MSQ Model

Each competency is equally weighted and combined to yield an overall Relevance Maturity Score, which defines a MSQ Level ranging from 1 (broadcast) to 5 (integrated). Marketers can leverage the model in conjunction with the MSQ Self-Test to assess their status quo, as well as identify the steps they must take in order to successfully move to the next level. 

For a free copy of the full report, visit www.responsys.com/beyond. I hope that you will find the research interesting and the tools useful. If you have any feedback, please don’t hesitate to comment here or contact me directly.

See you in LA next week? April 1, 2008

Posted by Elana Anderson in Customer Analytics, Customer Experience, Database Marketing, Integrated Marketing, Marketing, Marketing Measurement, Marketing Strategy, Marketing Technology, Online Marketing.
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Busy, busy, busy! That’s the month of April for me. Sorry I haven’t been posting the last couple of weeks, but I have a ton of balls in the air at the moment. One of the major things I’ve been working on is a minor treatise aimed to help marketers systematically improve the relevance of their customer communications. My work on this whitepaper, “Marketing Beyond The Status Quo,” is sponsored by the good people at Responsys and we’re planning to unveil it together next week at Forrester’s Marketing Forum in Los Angeles.  Our session is Tuesday, April 8th at 2:25pm. I’ll be presenting along with Scott Olrich (Responsys’ CMO) and Randy Cuff (Director of CRM Development at Intrawest). Here’s the abstract for the session:

Few interactive marketers are ecstatic about their ability to deliver meaningful and timely marketing messages. In fact, most agree that more relevant and timely marketing communications will be better received by customers and increase response rates. However, when time is scarce, budgets are tight, and single channel campaign management solutions are already integrated and delivering ROI, marketers are hard pressed to change the status quo. In this thought-provoking session, Elana Anderson, former Vice President and Research Director leading Forrester’s marketing practice, and Scott Olrich, CMO of Responsys will unveil the findings from a first-ever study identifying the drivers of the “status quo” paradigm, and reveal the strategies and marketing technologies smart marketers are using to deliver superior marketing performance and ROI across channels.  

If you are attending the forum, please stop by our session. I’ll be there for the full two days, so drop me an email if you want to connect at some point during the event. Hope to see you there!

Recalibrating The Meaning of “Relevant” March 11, 2008

Posted by Elana Anderson in Customer Experience, Database Marketing, Integrated Marketing, Marketing, Marketing Measurement, Online Marketing.
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2 comments

Have you ever refinanced your mortgage only to be bombarded by offers to lower your mortgage rate for six weeks after you closed on your new loan? This happens because financial services companies are purchasing “triggers” from credit bureaus that indicate you have had a recent loan approval. The problem with these triggers is that they are not timely. By the time the marketing communication gets to the customer, it’s too late.

Relevance = right message + right time + right place

Perhaps it is a cliché, but it’s a good one. Too many marketers focus entirely on the message component of relevance. For these marketers, “place” is typically an outbound channel and “time” is based on the internal campaign calendar – not the customer’s needs. To be relevant, marketers must step outside the confines of the functional silo that they are responsible for and think outside in – from the perspective of the customer. In addition to targeting the message itself based upon a customer’s stated or implied needs, relevance requires:  

  • Timely reaction or response to customer actions. Although some marketers are experimenting with trigger-based communications and on-site customized messaging, the prominence of these tactics pales in comparison to the weekly or semi-weekly campaign pushes. The beauty of these tactics, however, is that they can be automated.
  • Cross-channel integration. Your customers don’t care that you are only responsible for email and not the website or direct mail and not the call center. When a potential customer clicks on a search result or an online ad and lands on your generic home page or receives an offer in the mail and calls customer service to inquire further, he expects a seamless handoff. Yet, creative elements often dominate conversations about integrated marketing rather than a focus on what the customer is trying to achieve as he traverses the channels. The result of this oversight? For the customer, it often means dead ends and unnecessary frustration. For the company, it means lost opportunities and, possibly, damage to the brand.
  • A programmatic approach. Did you know that maximizing individual campaign response might be to the detriment of overall program ROI? That’s right. Sending more messages may generate a higher response, but how many others are simply tuning out? The current industry standard in the retail sector is 1-2 email messages a week. Amazon differentiates itself in the inbox by not always being there. An email offer from Amazon might be, “A brand new Leonard Cohen CD is available. Since you have enjoyed Leonard Cohen in the past, we thought you might want to know…” This programmatic approach requires different metrics than the campaign-centric approach – for example, program engagement over time or revenue per customer (not campaign).
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