A contact strategy is imperative for controlling customer communications and ensuring that you deliver the right message, at the right time to the right customer through the right channel.
Given that it’s such an important facet of an overall marketing plan, it’s also imperative that it’s measurable - so that you can continually optimise, tune and track exactly how you are engaging with customers and prospects.
The beauty of a good contact strategy is that it is quantifiable and iterative.
In this post we will walk through the best ways to measure your strategy and use this measurement to continuously learn.
Be clear on objectives
As well as starting with the customer you need to be very clear on your marketing objectives: what are you trying to achieve?
These objectives should be based on the specific levers of your business but are likely to be a combination of:
- Revenue growth - cross-selling and up-selling to customers to increase ATV or purchase frequency
- Process efficiencies - operating your customer marketing programme more efficiently to select the right channel, maximise data assets etc
- Cost savings - reducing the cost of your customer marketing. There are many ways that you could reduce costs from selection of the best communication channels for a customer segment to better targeting that reduces wastage.
Go further than objectives
With your objectives specified, now map the results that you want to achieve.
There are 4 steps to doing this (with a worked example for improving email marketing response in brackets):
- Critical success factors - the things that you must have done to meet your objectives (increase email click rate)
- Necessary conditions - the necessary conditions needed to achieve your CSFs (clear calls-to-action; motivating subject lines)
- Results - the individual activity results (increased landing page visits; email open rate; email click rate)
- Set targets - finally, quantify the results that you want to achieve and set targets; these will be linked directly to your stated objectives
More details on the process can be found in our free Performance Measurement Toolkit.
Plan for measurement
You will need to demonstrate how your strategy is performing and its ROI so build this in from the start.
Use your understanding of the levers and marketing objectives to be clear what you need to measure.
And then determine how these measures can be delivered across a combination of customer segments, channels and stages of the customer lifecycle.
Establish contact rules to support your measurement. Contact rules are an agreed set of business rules which govern which customers you communicate with, when, how and how often.
They help to give precedent to certain communications and ensure that you don't over-communicate with your customers.
And they will also give you a clear delineation of communications that makes it easier to measure.
Finally, we recommend building a control group or fallow cell into all your communications. These are a group of customers who don’t receive any communications that form part of your CS.
Control group and fallow cell
A control group can change from campaign to campaign while a fallow cell is a group of customers who never receive your communications.
A control group means that you can benchmark the response of your campaigns and determine if the response you see is down to the campaign or something else beyond your control.
With stretching goals it can be unpalatable to leave some customers out of a campaign - yet without the discipline of doing so you will never know if you are delivering your goals.
Just as it’s prudent to think about measurement as your build your strategy, it's also wise to consider what data you will need to make it a reality.
A data strategy define how you are going to use data to enable your marketing strategy.
The objective is to deliver the right data, at the right time, to the right people so that they can implement, measure and optimise your marketing strategy. For marketers this should encompass customer understanding, delivering personal communications, campaign management and measuring ROI.
Strategy is a much misused word.
Focus on the data that you really need rather than would like to have and don't assume that all of this data should be captured directly from customers - much of your strategy should be highly responsive and timely so will be predicated on behavioural triggers.
Capturing the data requriements at this stage will start to shape your data strategy and support an evaluation of feasibility and viability of your CS.
Test and learn
"Never stop testing and your [marketing] will never stop improving.”
As David Ogilvy said: Testing and learning should be at the heart of your marketing planning process.
Every activity should contain a test.
This goes hand-in-hand with the need for a control group or fallow cell.
Your CS isn't a one-off statement of intent. Rather it needs to be set up in a way that you place some bets, check how they perform and then repeat or iterate.
This apporach is dependent on your business culture: a willingness to test knowing that some activities will fail, an alignment of learnings so that knowledge and best practices are shared across all business areas and the granular measurement of all activities based on customer outcomes.
Having this mindset will ensure that your strategy is measurable as this ethos will be central to its design.
About Simon Spyer
Marketing consultant with deep experience using customer insight and data to design and build solutions that deliver great customer experience and commercial benefit.