Subscriber First!

It was refreshing and inspiring to hear Arend Hendersen, VP of analytics for third-party offer service Q Interactive, speak here at the Email Insider Summit in Utah about how their optimization of the subscriber experienced resulted in higher ROI for both Q and advertisers.

Using lifetime value (LTV) rather than the standard open, click and conversion data is actually quite innovative. Surprising perhaps, but true. Too many email marketers view email success in a campaign vacuum—reviewing results by the revenue generated by mailing, and not expanding the measure to include subscriber level success metrics. Only when you look at the subscriber level can you start to understand the key drivers of subscriber satisfaction and revenue.

At Q, the standard response metrics are used as diagnostics to inform the LTV, but Arend’s vision was to optimize the type, number and cadence of messages so that each segment—active, less active, rarely active—of the database earned the highest return.

Not only was this a smart, customer-centric approach, but it turns out took an enormous amount of corporate fortitude. The first 30 to 60 days showed a 20% drop in value to Q (although there were some good measures to point to more promise), so Arend reports he was in a constant sweat for a few weeks. However, his vision was based on sound data and statistical analytics, so at 120 days the program broke even, and now with more than a year of data, they’ve improved the return by 30%.

How wonderful to hear about how focusing on the subscriber earned higher return for the marketer! Let us know how you are measuring the success of your email program.

—Stephanie Miller of Return Path