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Analytics

Analytics give you knowledge and power to:

  • Understand the patterns that affect your business
  • Measure efforts to provide insight into what is working and what is not
  • Refine strategies based on results
  • Target effectively

In the end, it's about lift:

  • Increasing response
  • Increasing engagement
  • Increasing revenue
  • Increasing performance
  • Decreasing cost

Measurement and analysis without goals and metrics can be challenging and time consuming. Hunting for relevant meaning in a sea of data doesn't always yield the results that are needed. We here call it "Decision Making Based on Tolerance to Pain". In other words, we sometimes spend so much time sifting through data that sometimes it's too overwhelming and we get frustrated then make decisions because we need to move on.

Here at Take Charge, we've been there with many companies. From Walmart, Wells Fargo, Safeco to Microsoft and Amazon, we've been involved in projects both highly successful and failures because the end goal was not well understood (check out the Scenarios below).

If the goal is to increase efficiencies, left, engagement, drive down cost, respond faster than your competitors, then Take Charge can help.

Scenarios

Customer Retention

This is a classic "keep the customer" problem.

While we can come to understand what are the factors that influence a customer to leave, if we don't own the customer we might put the wrong marketing program together to effect change.

In this case we were asked to evaluate customers and rank with some level of confidence who would leave within 6 months. The company that did this wanted to market directly to the customer and we were tasked to find them. Once the analysis was done and the results were presented, the resulting campaign did not perform correctly.

Why?

The client did not actually own the customer, their independent representatives did. The client bypassed the representative which both caused channel conflict and the end-customer was confused. What should have happened is for the correct goal to be understood at the beginning - keep the independent representatives from leaving (with their clients). The analysis was correct, the marketing program - not so much.

Email Marketing

A client was attempting to drive inbound engagement (page views in this case). They had complex and visually rich emails that wer sent to the entire customer list. The only changes were the content inside the emails. The results ere being trapped and collected, but the retrieval of the resulting data was complex, manual and took weeks to pull together.

The result of this approach was a decreasing level of interest and engagement.

Why?

Several factors combined here that needed to be addressed:

  • Content was too rich and didn't work in many email clients such as Outlook
  • The blasting to everyone caused several larger email providers to block the sender (e.g. Gmail automatically moves these to junk without user involvement)
  • The results were undifferentiated. No one knew why someone responded (or didn't), they could only guess
  • The metrics were so painful to pull that the people responsible for the campaigns didn't have the time to revisit

What Take Charge did

  • Reduced the complexity of the graphics to render correctly across all email clients so that the message was more complete (sometimes graphics don't render)
  • Put a section in the email that would appear in the preview lines of the email clients with a summary/call to action
  • Instrumented the email with be more in alignment with response analysis
  • Selected a specific targeted segment to gauge lift
  • Created 3 sub-groups (A/A test to validate base data, A/B test with a change in subject line)
  • Measured results over 5 days on a daily basis

The Result?

A significant bump in response and revenue was generated even though this was only a test to a small group.

It's not just about targeting, it's ensuring the message actually gets there.

Data Center

In the drive to build out capacity to ensure response sometimes the cost of doing that is now well understood.

Why?

Case in point, accounting practise requires data center costs (including the operations team) be calculated as COGS (Cost Of Goods Sold). That means margins are directly related to the cost of operating the solution. If, in the case of Retail, the customer price is pretty much governed by market dynamics, then the only solution for increased profit is either "sell more" and/or "pay less".

One company that was in a highly competitive market segment struggled with these issues needed to take immediate action. The competitive market pressure dictated a contractual revenue stream that fixed the pricing for yearly period. However, costs continued to rise:

  • Servers cost more and, with growth of the customer, the number increased
  • The system was not highly automated and required increased manual operational oversight
  • Storage costs grew leaps and bounds as more data was required
  • Staff had to increase due to the manual nature of the solution
  • The engineering team focused on shipping features and did not incorporate operational improvements with each release

The Impact?

  • Revenue was fixed
  • Capital Expenditure increased to cope with load
  • Staff increased to cope with stability, increased "work around" and lack of automation
  • Margins dropped into negative numbers VERY quickly.

While a pricing strategy or contractual renegotiation could have resolved some of this, there was no way to improve margin with the current conditions.

What actions were taken?

  • We instrumented not just the systems, but the people and their allocation / workload
  • We created a very simple metrics goal that incorporated everything
  • We built a dashboard that we could put into an analysis tool to filter and pivot
  • Everyone began to look at their own numbers on a weekly basis (the people that do the work had a vested interest - their work/life balance was totally shot)
  • We met weekly to look at the biggest issues with a plan to attack at least one issue
  • The overall metric drove the behavior but the analysis drove the investigations

The Result?

Within a few months, with no change in revenue, the operations team drove margin from negative numbers to over 50% positive. That margin improvement included the cost of the actions needed to effect change!