As marketers develop and execute increasingly complex marketing campaigns, an entirely new set of questions arise – questions regarding the business rules and offers that will increase retention, acquisition and overall customer value. This article will address these critical issues, as will the articles over the subsequent two months. This month focuses on the types of marketing campaigns and offers that can be created and some development approaches that may be successful. Next month we will address technologies beyond "pure" campaign management including customer behavior analytics that are implemented to execute (and sometimes create) business rules and offer combinations. Finally, the third column of this series will discuss the issue of offer and campaign optimization, which is a critical and often misunderstood component of marketing campaign execution.

Historically, marketing departments have run "campaigns." Often described as "programs," these campaigns would be targeted at a specific customer segment. The development process typically begins with planning to identify (1) objectives for branding, response and financial impact, and (2) fixed and variable costs associated with the program. Then the process continues through creative development and approval, target list creation and "mail house" (printing, mailing and tracking responses). Three to five campaigns would be executed quarterly, with results tracked against financial forecasts. Some industries executed more campaigns, others less. Some used external lists while others utilized mass markets as broad-reach vehicles. However, the overall approach remained constant across a broad range of industries for a number of years.

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