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In the last two years, Crone has spearheaded the development of a modeling platform that has boosted the performance of Bonnier’s customer acquisition and retention marketing.
One critical component to database marketing is modeling. It’s a tactic that not every publisher uses, but it’s one Mark Crone and his team have mastered, but only in the last couple years—an eyebrow raising notion for a publisher such as Bonnier. Nevertheless, Crone has cleverly gone the way of automating as much data collection and analysis in lieu of expensive teams of high-level analysts and statisticians, paving the way for a smooth database marketing operation.
“In a period of about two years, we’ve moved to where our whole mail strategy is built around the modeling,” says Crone. “For us, it’s gone from zero to ninety in a short period of time, all without the benefit of having one of the major database providers. We’ve had to build a database and processes from scratch. We’re humming now.”
From the beginning, notes Crone, the process had been centered on standardization. His team is not responsible for creating the campaigns, but creating the intelligence that informs them. “In some respects, we look like how an outside vendor would look,” he says. “When we first started bringing these models to the mail teams we needed to first test and prove them. That whole process is slow.”
The process has ramped up from 20 percent of total mail volume being based on modeling to 67 percent, and that’s still growing. The upside has been significant. Right off the bat, says Crone, acquisition costs were reduced by 25 percent. Now, more than 100 active models help drive marketing efforts.
Optimizing the internal expire list has helped tremendously as well. “When we started putting the models on top of that it opened up new data we never had,” says Crone.
Data hygiene has benefitted as well, and Crone’s team has been able to reduce non-responders via the NCOA to one percent, essentially having a mail-ready database. Email marketing has also seen the benefits and now pushes a 99 percent delivery rate.
Vital Stats: By rolling out a standardized modeling platform and process, Bonnier’s database team has been able to base 67 percent, and growing, of total mail volume on models. Right off the bat, acquisition costs dropped 25 percent.
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