Forget Big Data. What’s giving marketers the edge in 2015 is not data that’s big in size, but big in relevance. As more and more customer data becomes available – and not just to major global corporations – marketers are putting quality over quantity.

In the process, data-driven marketing is becoming less about collecting terabytes of information from thousands of touch points – which ultimately require bandwidth for analysis – but focusing on the right pieces of the puzzle, and using them to drive relevant customer dialogues.

This paradigm shift also empowers smaller companies and brands with limited data reservoirs, which may nevertheless contain high-value information. And the keys to better understanding the customer.

There is always value in data. So-called ‘smart data’ can also be used effectively to improve business results, with commensurate savings in time and resources. The art and science of ‘just enough data’ has the power to transform bottom lines and generously boost ROI,” said Kat Berman, Product Marketing Consultant at Selligent.

Consolidating these manageable, but relevant data streams into a one-stop marketing automation platform such as Selligent can put rocket boots on marketing initiatives. For UK-based ecommerce upstart SECRETSALES, looking closely at what “smart data” was available proved all but transformative to customer communications.

SECRETSALES achieves big results with small data

Launched in 2007 by two brothers, Nish and Sach Kukadia, the members-only ecommerce retailer SECRETSALES offers short-term discounts of up to 70% on merchandise from 1,500 leading brands in apparel, accessories, health, cosmetics, and house wares.

For the online retailer, email has always been key in reaching customers and announcing the hundreds of daily sales launched every month. But initially, SECRETSALES only sent one daily, one-size-fits-all email to their entire membership base announcing new sales. Plus, a nightly reminder soliciting last orders before the sale of the day closed.

There was room to do more. And room to approach customers with tailored, relevant product offers to suit their individual tastes – but without overflowing their inbox.

“Before sending out an email featuring, for example, the latest handbag sale, SECRETSALES needed to know which of its customers would be pleased to learn of the sale, which would be somewhat interested, which could not care less, and which would perhaps be fed up by the information,” said Selligent’s Kat Berman.

Focus on the “right” kind of data

Then again, what did SECRETSALES know about its customers individual tastes and interests? Turns out, quite a lot.

Sorting through routinely captured customer data, the SECRETSALES team identified the primary data sets that were most informative and available, including:   

• Purchase history
• User-supplied style preferences
• Site browse activity
• Facebook “likes”
• Email click activity

These sets of data, although small, brought the online retailer’s email strategy full-circle.

“It’s possible to make significant improvements to your marketing program by using the data your marketing team can access easily, without having to rely heavily on IT. In short, you don’t have to have large and complex data sets in order to make a meaningful change—start with what you have and what’s easiest to get to,” said Selligent’s Kat Berman.

In partnership with Selligent, SECRETSALES built a cost-effective solution to turn their customer intelligence into highly personalized content features – driving higher online sales and strengthening loyalty.

Small changes behind the scenes…

Using these relevant data points, SECRETSALES and Selligent developed a purchase propensity model to score their customers on their likelihood to buy from the site.  

Selligent also developed dynamic templates for customer-directed emails, populated with content based on purchase propensity scores and product history. Without involving the IT department, these templates could easily be copied and modified as production moved ahead.

Selligent then helped expand the program and designed a frequency model to segment and manage the email cadence for audiences based on:

• customer type
• number of transactions
• purchase recency
• return rates

The database schema supporting the program features more than 20 unique tables, updated and synchronized with Secret Sales internal data marts via a real-time exchange of data including product, inventory, transactional detail, response information, loyalty and referral records.

It’s a well-oiled machine behind the scenes. And it gets better at giving customers what they like, the more data it receives.  

…big changes for customers

Thanks to the new data-driven model, each customer now receives SECRETSALES flash sale emails uniquely crafted towards their preferences and purchase history. Like a brand on Facebook? Here’s their new jacket – 70% off! For a limited time, members only.

Each SECRETSALES customer currently receives 40 highly personalized messages per month – a landmark change from previous cookie-cutter bulk emails. Additionally, some 25 types of API-driven, highly personalized triggered messages support the product ordering process to keep shoppers updated about the status of each order.

And in order to close that crucial first sale, Selligent launched a multi-touch new member journey with offers that get increasingly rich if no first purchase. Selligent maintains the current point status for all members with a corresponding loyalty journey to prompt usage of loyalty points and coupons before expiration – keeping customers involved and engaged with the platform.

“We cannot image our success this year without Selligent. The team has been incredible, and the tools are easy to use,” says Katie Palmer, Head of Customer Marketing at SECRETSALES. “This was a first step towards testing dynamic relevant content. We have taken the programs they launched and have been able to continue to advance them through the UI on our own. Content algorithms are absolutely where we are going and we are now looking to expand that to drive personalization on our website.”

Within the first year of partnership, SECRETSALES used the Selligent platform to move from a limited and generic program to a highly dynamic automated marketing strategy – increasing sales, encouraging repeat purchases and driving customer loyalty.

All by making small, but relevant sets of customer data actionable. Take that, Big Data!


Want to find out more about how SECRETSALES transformed their customer communication? Download the case study …here

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