Last Updated Mar 25, 2008 12:48 PM EDT
OfficeMax used market basket analyses from its MaxPerks loyalty program to figure out that 40 percent of camera shoppers buy memory, so walking out the door "with a digital camera in one hand and nothing else in the other" triggers a personalized mailing, Hlavinka says. Starting with a universe of 2,000 such "opportunities," OfficeMax marketers created 30 rules-based events to pick up sales they might otherwise have missed.
Retailers collect a lot of data, but many don't use it effectively. For example: Hlavinka ended a lifelong habit when convenience lured her to the gas pumps at a membership retailer. She had always bought brand-name gas, "mostly because Dad filled up at those types of stations." But nobody noticed when her weekly fill-up went elsewhere, she says in Penton's Chief Marketer e-newsletter. "Major GasCo doesn't seem to have missed me," she says.
Hlavinka's regular gas station could have used transactional data to flag her absence and send email or a postcard. A free car wash would have brought her back "early enough to stop a new habit from forming," she says.
Event-triggered communications should be standard practice if you sell "everyday-spend" items such as groceries or phone services, Hlavinka suggests. "Most companies already store the information needed to create a defection defense." Sweep your database for missed transactions, and assign a score that triggers targeted offers based on the customer's profitability. Major GasCo could send a gas-guzzling customer who goes missing a partner offer like free movie tickets, while smaller spenders get coffee with a fill-up in the next two weeks.