November 30, 2009

Ripple Effects and Cyber Monday

One of the reasons we run Online Marketing Simulations (Book, Kindle, Digital Download, Hire Me) is because we want to understand what I call "Ripple Effects".

We're all familiar with Ripple Effects, right? Our economy collapsed based on the actions of a relatively small number of players, folks who did things that rippled through our economy, one domino at a time.

You'll use Online Marketing Simulations to understand, for instance, how Cyber Monday discounts and promotions ripple through your customer ecosystem.

Say you offered customers 15% off plus free shipping during Cyber Monday 2008. You now have one year of data to plug into your simulation. You'll get to see how customers who took advantage of this generous promotion behaved.
  • Did these customers ever purchase full-price merchandise again?
  • Did these customers ever pay for shipping and handling again?
  • Did these customers ever purchase anything again?
  • Did you convert full-price customers to discount hounds?
  • Did you change the type of merchandise that the customer now prefers (i.e. low-price-point items)?

And you will get to see how changes in customer behavior ripple through your ecosystem. If your Cyber Monday promotions converted customers to low-price-point items in the future, then you'll see that high-price-point items are not selling as well, resulting in changes in merchandising strategy, changes that impact gross margin in the future, requiring more items to be sold, requiring more promotions to move items, further lowering gross margin ...

You get the picture!

You can simulate all of these things. You can plug in a smaller number of full-price buyers on Cyber Monday instead of a high number of promotional Cyber Monday buyers, and then see how this ripples through your business over the next five years. Pay close attention to the merchandise that sells in the future. Pay close attention to the discounts and promotions you'll have to give away in the future.

This is a great way to use an Online Marketing Simulation!