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Must Read Classic Articles

These articles are keepers for customer retention oriented, Data-Driven marketers; they are selected primarily because they provide very short-in-supply case studies, metrics, or process models for relationship marketing, customer retention, or customer loyalty marketing on the Web.  This is an archive; for the latest check out the blog.

*** The Secret Sauce
December 27, 2005  Internet Retailer
This is a pretty well organized article on the different facets of conversion.  Nothing earthshaking, but if you're having problems putting everything you have heard about optimizing conversion in context, it's for you.

*** Courting Clicks
November 21, 2005  Internet Retailer
I've never really embraced the comparison shopping engines, as either a user or a web marketer.  An environment designed to attract price shoppers is a retailer's worst nightmare, IMHO - unless you compete specifically on price, a nightmare all by itself.  Plus, they all show stock pay-per-click ads anyway, so what's the benefit?  I guess it's working for some people...

**** Best of Friends
November 11, 2005
Here's a shocker - there are companies where marketing and IT try to work together.  Really.  Amazing, isn't it?  Seriously, more companies should be implementing these "translator" positions that help IT and marketing to understand each other.  We used them at HSN when I was there in the early 90's (called IT outreach managers), and the money / time you save from doing projects right the first time far outstrips the staff costs. 

****Slice of Life
October 24, 2005  CMO Magazine
Inside the guts of the customer segmentation practice at RBC Royal Bank.  This is the latest segmentation success story making the rounds for good reason - it's easy to understand and chock full of numbers, including lift and ROI calculations.  Nice work, RBC!

**** Customer Value Models
October 7, 2005  DM Review
A great overview of the reasoning behind building customer value models, suitable to send "upstairs".  These models don't have to be complex, at least in the beginning; use a simple Current Value / Potential Value matrix.

*** Red Alert!  All Hands Battle Stations!
September 29, 2005  DM Review
Nice overview of the different types of alerts (analytic, sales, service).  Alerts tied to specific KPI's are a great way to manage a business. By the way, "alerts" don't have to be pagers going off, they can be monthly reports.  Scale  alert timing to the opportunity; if it's going to take 30 days to act in an economically viable way, you don't need a daily alert.

*** Making Paid Search Pay Off
September 13, 2005  Internet Retailer
This may be old hat to those of you who have been with me for a while, but it's a great review of the basics and includes some new conversion data on each search engine.

**** Web Analytics Special Report: Various
August 31, 2005  DM News
When the "bible" of the Direct Marketing industry finally does a Special Report on Web Analytics you have to take notice. Guess we're legit now!  Clicking this link should execute a search of the DM News site and present you with all the articles which tend to be short and contain concrete numbers - like mini case studies.  If the link doesn't work for you, go to the DM News site and search "Web Analytics".

*** Loyalty programs on upswing among online retailers, study finds
August 19, 2005  Internet Retailer
Jupiter says a lot of loyalty programs are going to be launched in the next year.  I'd guess most of them will be a big mistake; you can really damage your business if you don't know what you are doing.  Above all, make sure your program isn't constructed in a way that will drive subsidy costs among best customers.

**** How to Raise Ecommerce Sales By Refusing Orders (When to Tell Customers You Don't Want Their Money)
August 8, 2005
This is a perfect example of "optimizing" the online retail back office.  Often, people spend so much time worrying about search engine pennies that they let the operational dollars walk out the door.  Read this article and think about what is really happening here; what do you think the cost savings / increase in repeat purchase rate is worth?  It's huge money.

*** To Spam or Not to Spam -That's a Dumb Question
August 1, 2005   CMO Magazine
Ah, now we're getting somewhere.  There is a real hard cost to e-mail blasting untargeted messages, as I have said before.  Delivering the wrong messages at the wrong times has measurable direct costs but there are indirect costs as well.

*** Repeat After Me
July 15, 2005   CMO Magazine
This is a well-written article and case on a topic often talked about but never really explored - customer touchpoint measurement and management.  It's time to bring the the "sales funnel" concept into the offline world.

*** Another Look at KPI's
July 1, 2005  DM Review
Some bumps in the road in KPI land.  Apparently, some executive teams are choosing KPI's that are outcomes rather than causes, results rather than drivers of success.  In other words, a lot of stuff they get from other reports already.  If possible, KPI's should really be predictive, not reactive.

**** The Secret to BI Success
June 14, 2005
Back in the old days we called it the "Research and Analysis department"; looks like today's name is "BI competency center".  No matter, it's the same idea - get analytics out of the silos and into a single, powerful group reporting directly to C-level operations or finance.  Highly profitable problem-solving is cross-functional; the power to find new ideas and solutions is magnified many fold when all the analysts work together.  Six Sigma Everything, baby.

***Seven Rules for Increasing Customer Value
June 1, 2005  InsightExec
Don Peppers expounds a bit on the Peppers and Rodgers Return on Customer (ROC) model.  Same old stuff from a databased marketing perspective, but I have to give them credit, they do have a knack for inventing new, more understandable ways to tell the story!

**** Pervasive Business Intelligence - 
Enhancing Key Performance Indicators
April 24, 2005  DM Review
What is it with people inventing acronyms?  The latest is PBI (Pervasive Business Intelligence) which is essentially "always on KPI monitoring and alerting for all levels of the company".  Sounds a lot like Six Sigma Everything to me.  The article mentions the need for a cultural shift under PBI (they are right) but doesn't get into the details.  If you want to understand how disruptive something like PBI can be and what to do about it, I'm speaking about this at the eMetrics Summit.

**** The Brain Behind The Big, Bad Burger 
And Other Tales Of Business Intelligence
April 10, 2005  CIO Magazine
Instead of droning on and on about why analytics should be producing better returns, the restaurant industry (of all places!) is actually doing something with analytics.  Up next is Six Sigma Everything.

**** The Dawn of the BI Director
March 20, 2005  DM Review
Yep, it's Six Sigma Everything rearing it's head.  When you are a master of the numbers and driving productivity enhancement, you can haul down the big bucks.  But, as analytics grow in importance, you have to make sure you make changes to company culture, e.g. failure is a learning experience and tying compensation to provable profit increases.

*** Order management: The new DNA of retailers` multi-channel strategies
March 10, 2005  Internet Retailer
No kidding - good order management is absolutely critical; the cost savings in time and service issues are huge.  If you're a small to midsize online retailer, I can vouch for the Stone Edge Order Manager mentioned at the end of the article - it is one sweet app and has saved us countless hours in the "lab store".

*** No-Tech CRM
March 1, 2005
People talk about CRM failure in terms of not getting buy-in and lacking the right culture, but I'm not sure they really know what that culture is.  I am, because I've seen this movie before;  it's the analytical culture and this

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