Last week we talked with Al about consumer privacy and the uneasiness many feel over not knowing how their personal data or browsing histories are being used by brands, marketers or the government. Al shared how AcquireWeb does not use information that audiences haven’t made public and how he too is concerned over the latitude that ISPs have been given to sell customers’ information.

In today’s post, we shift gears a bit and take a moment to talk with Al about the most lucrative segment brands can market to – the 80% that comprise non-engaged customers.

Q: Why are non-engaged customers more lucrative or more ideally suited for marketing efforts than those engaging with a brand’s digital content?

Al: “We are seeing tremendous sales analytics coming from audiences exposed to various marketing communications but not actively engaging in them. The key story here from our perspective goes back to the knowledge that there is no silver bullet out there. Marketers cannot and should not base marketing and channel selection or spend solely on how a specific audience engages or does not engage with a specific channel.  The reality is that more sales are generated from the audiences who show no engagement with a given campaign. Most marketers will opt not to continue targeting them, when in reality, they represent the biggest opportunity for sales growth.”

Q: Do you have an example to illustrate this point?

Al: “We just completed an analysis where we looked at marketing efforts in only one channel across 186 retail stores. We considered a campaign (not an email blast; not a direct mail drop or Facebook campaign for a week, but an ongoing engagement with prospects over a long period of time). We sent two communications a month on one channel. On average across the stores and against this population of people, when you send somebody an email there are three outcomes (discounting those who opt out, which if you do a good job are exceedingly low). We saw three outcomes:

  1. Open and click
  2. Open and read
  3. Nothing that is measurable

The people in the last two categories don’t necessarily ignore or miss your message. Even if they delete it they are getting a brand exposure. They could open it in a text version but not the pretty pictures. They could open in an image depressed setting (default for Outlook). Those would all show as non-engagements when they aren’t.

On average, 93% of the audience that we were talking to fell into the nothing is measurable bucket. Only 5.2% opened the communication and did nothing more over that entire time frame; 1.2% opened and clicked. Then we looked at who bought from among that audience. We found that the audience we created bought products at a rate of 4 to 1 over the general population in their same geographical area, who weren’t included in the audience.

In this case study, we wanted to ask, of the audience we created, which one was the most active? What was the value of the engagement? The open and click audience engagement rate was dramatically higher than anything else; the next best was people who opened. Yet, the people who bought the most were the non measure bucket, by a ratio of 8 to 1. So many CMOs focus all their attention on the first group since they have the highest engagement without realizing that the largest group, which shows no measurable action at all, drives the highest number of sales.”

Q: How did you achieve such great success with this campaign?

Al: “The results speak directly to our ability to identify a buying audience and be transparent about who we target and to track the results. It also speaks to the trust our customers place in us. Without those factors, we wouldn’t have access to this kind of deterministic outcome.

Additionally, these results speak to our ability to suppress anybody who had worked with these retailers in the past 18 months. We could not market to them or anyone in their family per the brands’ restriction. It shows that we can identify an audience who is not your advocate and engage them to buy your goods. I think that idea of targeting people who won’t engage with you on social media but will buy your products is lost on a lot of marketers; they want the openers and clickers because they convert so much higher without realizing opens and clicks don’t translate to dollars.

The take home for marketers be wary of discounting your silent majority. They don’t advocate but they do buy most of your goods.”