Keep your analysis simple. Take twelve month buyers, and split them into three groups ... those without an e-mail address, inactive e-mail subscribers, and active e-mail subscribers.
Pay attention to the trends:
- Urban, Suburban, and Rural Customers. Customers have different preferences. The rural e-mail subscriber might respond to free shipping promotions. The urban e-mail subscriber might appear to never respond, because she visits stores after receiving an e-mail campaign.
- Merchandise Preference. E-mail subscribers typically prefer a different merchandise assortment than non e-mail subscribers. You're likely to find that active e-mail subscribers are hyper-loyal to a subset of your merchandise assortment. Brand marketing individuals sometimes wish to use e-mail to communicate a holistic marketing message, whereas the profile might indicate that various e-mail / merchandise combinations represent vital "micro-channels" to customers.
- Advertising Micro-Channels. Do e-mail subscribers and active e-mail customers purchase using e-mail in combination with catalog marketing, direct marketing, search marketing, or any other kind of marketing? If the answer is yes, your multichannel expert may be right in seeking to align all marketing activities across the company.
- Future Channels. One of the unintended consequences of multichannel marketing occurs when one form of marketing (e-mail marketing) is effective, causing the customer to switch channels. Most of the Multichannel Forensics projects I work on suggest that customers are much more likely to switch channels than they are to become loyal multichannel shoppers. See if your e-mail marketing activities shift customer behavior. If e-mail marketing causes a shift to a lower-value channel, re-visit the purpose of e-mail marketing.