Saturday, 7 March 2009

Data rules (if you know the rules)!

It is well accepted that marketing efforts are better directed at customers who have already shown an interest in your business, than in constantly looking to win over new customers. But how can fashion businesses tempt one time customers to return and spend again and again?

Fashionista attended the Sheerluxe E-tail Conference last week and heard some interesting views on the subject from a range e-commerce experts. One, Kevin McSpadden of direct marketing agency more2, was explaining the importance of analysing your customer data so you can segement it, and identify those customers who are regularly spending the most and reward them for their loyalty, as well as spotting those who have recently lapsed and seek to win them back.

But before you can do any analysis, you have to build a critical mass. Kevin explained that in his experience, most businesses fail to understand the legal framework around data protection, and as a result miss out on marketing opportunities. For example, many businesses will only record and retain consumer details (and in particular email addresses) if the customer has opted-in. In fact (as is confirmed by the Information Commissioner's website) an etailer can record and send marketing emails to all new customers advertising their own goods/services provided they give them an opportunity to opt-out. Lethargy ensures that most don't and as a result the etailer's database thrives.

While all of us (Fashionista included) bemoan the quantity of marketing emails we receive, how many of us haven't been tempted by an email offering us a promotion on our favourite brand or an exclusive event at our favourite retailer? In these credit crunch times, promotional emails are a proven way to persuade us ladies to flex the plastic, and tailored emails are the most persuasive of all!