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Here’s how micro decisions turn blasting into targeting


Ginger Conlon had a nice post this week – Don’t Blast. Target. – Think customers: The 1to1 Blog.

many marketers are still drawn to the ease of blasting to a broad audience, instead of targeting for maximum impact among those most likely to respond

If you are trying to make this transition from blasting to targeting – and you should be – two concepts should be front and center: Micro decisions and decision management.

I often talk about micro decisions, a concept Neil and I introduced in Smart (Enough) Systems. The basic idea is that any decision that impacts multiple customers should be broken down into micro decisions, one for each customer. Thus a marketing campaign does not consist of a decision about offer, another about channel and a third about format but of a decision for each person impacted by the campaign – 1,000s or 10,000s or 100,000s of micro decisions. After all, each customer who receives the campaign will react to that campaign as though the decision to target them was personal and deliberate. They don’t see anyone else’s offer, so it feels personal and they assume you meant to send it to them, so it feels deliberate. If you are blasting not targeting then you are choosing to make this decision the same way for everyone – you are making a decision that is impersonal and accidental.

Marketers need to stop thinking about campaign-level decisions (blasting) and start thinking about making each customer-level decision uniquely or personally. Real, or even extreme, personalization.

Decision Management, of course, is the discipline you need to apply technology in a way that makes it possible to do this. If each customer-level micro decision is to be different, the decision making process must be automated. Instead of making a few decisions you must create the logic that will drive many decisions. And you must be able to embed that logic, along with real analytic insights and optimal trade-offs, into an engine that can make lots of micro decisions. Decision Management applies business rules, predictive analytic, data mining and optimization technologies in combination to deliver micro decision making. And by delivering this decision making in reusable, centralized decision services it ensures that these decisions are consistent across channels.

So use Decision Management, focus on micro decisions and stop blasting your customers.


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Howard Fine May 30, 2009, 2:44 am

    Interesting article on decision making. Whether marketing decisions or other areas of one’s business, I find that there is constantly the need to be making decisions. When I feel very confident that I’ve considered all the possibilities thoroughly, my productivity increases.

    I find that the most difficult decisions are those that require me to select the best choice out of several while needing to base the decision on multiple criteria. Another article written by another Director presented a new tool to me that after trying, hooked me on a new approach to solving most of those kind of decisions.

    It is a multi-criteria decision making tool that although quite powerful, I was surprised to discover how easy it is to use. I think you’d enjoy it, ChoiceAnalyst. I downloaded a beta of the final release candidate here, and glad I did.



    Howard Fine
    Director of IT
    The Ben Tobin Companies