January 28, 2010

Rebuilding: The Targeter

Ok, so you are the CEO, and you have a customer data infrastructure in place. You have outstanding customer reporting via Dashboards filled with KPIs (key performance indicators). You have always been able to answer any customer question, because your marketing team loves to drill down into the data to answer questions.

Now you want to act upon what you've learned. It is time to rebuild your marketing department around an individual called The Targeter.

The Targeter doesn't care about how data is organized, and doesn't care about learning new and insightful things about customers. No, The Targeter is hyper-focused on one thing ... getting the right message in front of the right individual.

If you want to rebuild your marketing department around a Targeter, you are taking a risk. The Targeter demands complete control over customer decisions. The Targeter wants to make decisions that are the most profitable decisions for your company.

In other words, The Targeter is going to potentially go after sacred cows. The Targeter may decide to cut your catalog circulation by 30%, because it is the most profitable thing to do. The Targeter may decide to go from two e-mail contacts per week to four e-mail contacts per week, because it is the most profitable thing to do. The Targeter may decide to give Google additional customer and merchandising information because it is the best way to put the right ad in front of the right individual. The Targeter loves tactics like Free Shipping, or % Off Promotions, or GWPs (gifts with purchase), or Shopping Cart Abandonment re-marketing programs. The Targeter actively tries to link the promotion with the customer in order to grow the top line.

In many ways, The Targeter is a classic direct marketer. You do not rebuild your department around a Targeter when the marketing world is changing, because The Targeter loves to compile knowledge about past successes in order to drive future sales increases. The Targeter is not motivated by emerging channels that have minimal ROI. Instead, The Targeter is motivated by Best Practices, by things that have been proven to work in the past.

The Targeter will rebuild a department around campaigns, not customers. The Targeter is motivated by customer understanding, but only to the point of linking customers to campaigns. The Targeter is not going to enjoy a month-long strategic project with McKinsey Consulting, because that project is not as likely to deliver ROI as is a project that links customers who love Free Shipping to various promotional vehicles.

A CEO rebuilds a marketing department around a Targeter only when the existing data infrastructure is in place, and only when there are folks in the marketing department who are great at "Mining" for customer insights. If those two criteria are met, then a Targeter becomes a valuable marketing leader, one who can deliver significant sales increases and profit improvements.