October 24, 2012

Contact Optimization Steps to Success

Contact fatigue is a growing epidemic. Every morning, people around the world open email inboxes filled with dozens of emails from stores, discount shopping sites, daily deal sites, facebook updates and robotically start hitting delete. They routinely come home from work, grab the mail, sort out the bills, and throw the “junk mail” into the recycling bin. I even recall a time where we took the phone off the hook so telemarketers would not call us at dinner time.  This is why contact optimization is important.

But contact optimization is not just about contact fatigue. You have to step back and take a look at the big picture. Here are my 4 keys to contact optimization success.

  1. Have a clear goal. Sure the idea of emailing someone everyday until they buy something can work, but really what is your goal? Emailing them everyday or getting them to buy something? Generally profit or revenue is a good thing for every business. Assess what offers are generating that for you, and which segments of customers are responding to those offers. Both of those together are a winning combination. And if you read my last post, you may realize that there could be some hidden potential out there.
  2. Be prepared to share. I already wrote about this, but it is important and should not be forgotten. Not everyone can contact the customers that are most likely to respond. It would be great, but a single person can only respond to so many marketing contacts. This is where things like propensity or loyalty models are great. Try out some models, and start getting responses from customers in different segments.
  3. Do not carve your rules in stone. I think this is important for all marketers. Once you find something that works, it does not mean you should stick with it forever. Test against your contact rules. Try out new models. It is an ever evolving market. Seek out to be the thought leader, not the follower trying to catch up. Taking the chance to continually push forward is what will set you apart.
  4. Determine a contact rate or intrusion score. There is a point where a customer is over contacted, and just glazes over your offers. Do not get to that point. Is one email per day with a limit of five per week the right rate, or one mailer and three emails the limit? Contact optimization is just as much about getting the right offer to the right customers as it is about contacting the customers the right amount of times.


Take me for example; I get an email every day from JCrew. I love that store, but I also love a good deal. If they were to analyze which emails I open, I probably only open about 20% of them, and they are usually related to a discount of 30% or greater, new dress styles, and shoes. If those were the only emails I would get, I would be more likely to respond to those messages. If they had a goal of increasing shoe revenue one month, I would be an excellent person to contact as I generally open shoe emails, and am likely to make a purchase in that department. (Trust me it is important to have every color of ballet flats imaginable.) Granted, once I have every color of those ballet flats, they will have to start testing other strategies to get me to respond. But working towards this approach means I am getting more of the right messages, and I am not just automatically deleting 80% of the emails that they send me.


Marketing is about the right message, at the right time, to the right person, through the right channel, and this is as important as ever. Optimizing your contacts will help you reach your goals and keep your customers happy.