April Fool’s is around the corner…and nectarOM has a few suggestions to reduce your risk of getting fooled by data analysis.

In a time when data is abundant and necessary for a strong personalized marketing strategy, marketers should be on the look out for these most common ways that data is misinterpreted. The following are some mistakes commonly made in data analysis.

Causation and Correlation

Understanding the difference between causation and correlation is important to interpreting data. Because both concepts sound relatively similar and are related to statistics, they are easily confused for one another.

Causation occurs when one event causes another. For example, as summer approaches, a swimwear retailer may see an increase in sales as more people buy swimsuits.

Correlation occurs when there is a mutual relation between two events. However, one of these events does not necessarily need to cause the other. For example, ice cream sales may increase and a swimwear retailer’s sales may increase, however, this does not mean that the increase in ice cream sales causes people to buy more swimwear. In this case, the rise in temperature is the cause of both of these events.

Understanding the difference between causation and correlation is important to avoid an incorrect data analysis. If the aforementioned swimwear retailer confuses its correlation and causation with ice cream sales, the retailer may see problems arise if it adjusts its marketing campaign to reflect the success of ice cream sales. For example, if summer ice cream sales increase because a neighboring frozen yogurt shop shuts down, the swimwear retailer may wrongfully assume their sales will increase as well. This assumption, which is not necessarily correct, could contribute to an ineffective marketing campaign.

Using Old Data

When a company is stuck with outdated customer information, its data may become useless. For example, a company may be sending emails to a customer’s old email address. If this customer no longer checks this email address, he or she will not have the opportunity to open emails from companies they might have registered with. This could alter the company’s email open rates. Several cases of this could lead to incorrect assumptions of ineffective subject lines or poor sending times based off faulty data collected in the scenario. To prevent these types of inaccurate assumptions, analysts should ensure they are using current customer information and use business rules to exclude customers who have not opened within a certain period of time.

Assuming the Data Will Do it All

One of the attractive selling points of using a Data Management Platform is that it reduces work for marketers and analysts. However, this mindset is a slippery slope. Companies should make sure their staff knows that a DMP doesn’t mean no more work in personalizing and customer care. Marketers can simply sit back and let their DMP run their data analysis and marketing campaigns. Marketers must remain attentive and responsive to consumer behavior, ensuring that marketing does not take on a robotic, impersonal feel.

Measuring the Average

When determining metrics in a data set, marketers must determine how to measure an accurate average. In some data sets, using mean versus median can present some vastly different results.

Mean accounts a total of all values added, then divided by the amount of data points. Median is the exact middle of the data set in numerical order. In cases where there are extreme outliers, using the median can give analysts a better picture of an average.

Oftentimes, the median gives marketers a more accurate look at its average. For example, consider a retailer’s data that tracks how long visitors stay on their eCommerce site. Imagine a retailer’s data shows that nine users spend 3 minutes on its site, while one user spends 45 minutes on the site. In this scenario, the mean average is 7.2 minutes spent on site, while the median is 3 minutes on site.

The median is a better value for the retailer’s average because it shows reflects a value that is close to what most site visitors showed. In contrast, the mean average reflects a value significantly higher than what 9 out of the 10 visitors generated. The mean’s higher value is skewed by one user’s unusually high value of 45 minutes. This lone value seriously alters the average time spent on the site.

Acknowledging outside factors

Oftentimes, marketers are so focused on the numbers that they forget to account for outside factors that might influence their customer data. For example, when looking at open rates in an automated email campaign, marketers should be sure to consider a customer’s geographical location.

While geographical location might seem irrelevant when sending emails, time zones and time of distribution can significantly impact open rates. Studies show that most consumers open emails from retailers between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m.

If all emails are distributed at the same time, a person in California might receive the message at an optimal time of 4 p.m., while a recipient in New York would receive the same exact message at their time of 7 p.m. While this delivery time is great for the Californian, the New Yorker may be in the middle of dinner and too distracted to open an email. Content should be delivered with the recipient’s location – and time zone – in mind.

Consider Kate Spade’s automated email campaign, which always considers the shopper’s time zone when delivering emails. The women’s clothing brand asks its registrants for two items of information upon signing up for an account: their email and zip code. With this information, Kate Spade emails customers according to their different time zones.

The email to the left is registered with under my California zip code, while the email to the right was registered under my Texas zip code. I received both emails two hours apart – a perfect example of a company accounting for time zone differences.


While data analysis mistakes are bad for marketers, poor data management can be detrimental to a company’s growth and sales as well. Make sure your company’s data analysis and data management are up-to-date and set up for success when implementing data into your marketing campaign.

Omnichannel elements are paying off big time for retailers that know how to use them. We’ve noticed that the most impressive fiscal results come from companies using nontraditional platforms in creative ways. Today’s top omnichannel retailers show that revamping a marketing strategy to reflect changes in the digital sphere can dramatically improve revenue and sales. To get a better feel for how omnichannel pays off for retailers, we’ll examine the marketing strategies of Macy’s, J.C. Penney, and Gap Inc.

Macy’s in-store pickup and digital wallet

In the past year, Macy’s has adjusted and revamped its marketing strategy to include omnichannel elements. The omnichannel additions were implemented as a part of Macy’s initiative to improve growth.

Terry J. Lundgren, CEO and chairman of Macy’s, said that the corporation’s focus on omnichannel has gained momentum over the new year. Seamless marketing over various platforms will allow Macy’s to respond to customers’ wants and needs.

“Having now reached such a healthy profitability rate, we are shifting our resources and energies to growing the topline faster while maintaining this high profitability rate level,” he said. “We have now fully aligned our management team to fuel organic growth within our existing omnichannel business as customer shopping patterns evolve.”

Macy's "My Wallet" is a key element to their marketing campaign
Macy’s “My Wallet” is a key element to their marketing campaign

As a part of their omnichannel campaign, Macy’s has begun offering an in-store pickup option for customers. Macy’s has also implemented its digital wallet: a smartphone app that lets shoppers who create a personal profile see special offers and discounts via mobile device. This app also speeds up the purchase process for customers.

And so far, it looks like customers are loving the company’s new omnichannel applications.

Macy’s 2014 revenue was higher than in years past. Macy’s says the improvement are a result of stronger customer relationships, which they attribute to the “support of an omnichannel strategy that is being driven by emerging customer shopping preferences.”

J.C. Penney’s catalog

J.C. Penney’s revenue struggled a couple years ago. However, the company was able to improve sales numbers after making major omnichannel renovations to its marketing strategy.

In 2013, the retailer merged its ecommerce and in-store marketing and sales campaigns. After fusing the two, J.C. Penney saw a 6% increase in ecommerce sales.

Now, two years later, J.C. Penney is still making additions to its omnichannel strategy. Earlier this year, the retailer announced its plans to bring back its catalog, which it had stopped publishing in 2010. Chief Executive Myron “Mike” Ullman said the elimination of J.C. Penney’s catalog was a bad move, and caused the retailer to lose many of its customers.

While a mail-delivered catalog may seem like an old-fashioned marketing tool, J.C. Penney believes that the catalog will bring back and retain a significant portion of their client base. Craig Elbert, Bonobo’s vice president of marketing, said that catalog customers spend more and tend to be a retailer’s most supportive customers overall.

Resurrecting the catalog brings optimism to the company. J.C. Penney spokeswoman Kate Coultas said that the print option will improve sales across multiple platforms.

“This is part of our omnichannel efforts designed to drive traffic to J.C. Penney wherever our customer decides to shop,” she said. “Online, via mobile or tablet, or in store.”

Gap Inc.’s order in store and WiFi

Gap Inc.’s revenue is on the incline – largely due to its focus on omnichannel over the past year.

The company’s fourth quarter and fiscal year results reflect the new focus on omnichannel. 2014 brought new digital capabilities for Gap customers, adding a new Order in Store capability to the shopping experience. This builds upon Gap’s current omnichannel suite, which includes Reserve in Store, Find in Store and Ship from Store.

Over 1,000 Gap stores also provide WiFi to enhance a consumer’s omnichannel shopping experience. This gives shoppers access to mobile apps and sites, encouraging the use of multiple channels throughout a shopping experience.

As Gap looks to improve revenue in 2015, the company will only increase their focus on omnichannel. The company expects to spend approximately $800 million on omnichannel, and names rolling out “omnichannel initiatives” as one of their forward-looking statements.

Convinced by the success from these omnichannel campaigns?

Don’t be afraid to revamp your own omnichannel practices! Get your creative juices flowing by checking out our top picks for omnichannel marketing or learn how to get started with our easy, three step guide to omnichannel.

For many businesses, data is a great addition to a marketer’s toolbox. Equipped with data, businesses can collect, store, analyze and interpret their customers’ information. This helps marketers develop the best sales messages and strategies for each individual customer.

However, if used incorrectly, data can be more of a hindrance than an asset for a company’s performance. Bad data management hurts businesses that base their marketing strategies off of data. Bad data management can include disorganized, underdeveloped, or irrelevant data. These problems are responsible for time wasted, unsuccessful marketing, and a weak ROI.

Time Concerns

When data is not managed well, retrieving relevant customer data can be a time-consuming pain. Businesses using data to drive sales may find themselves spending hours sifting through data.

This puts businesses at a disadvantage against competitors with good data management. By the time a business finds meaningful information with poorly managed data, its competitor that properly manages data will have already developed a marketing strategy that has generated dozens of sales.

Reporting and Forecasting Limitations

Data disorganization can also affect a business’s ability to report conclusions from the data. Data analysis may be construed with flawed, incomplete or inaccurate data. This tainted analysis can ruin marketing strategies.

Predicting customer behavior is impossible without an accurate customer data analysis. In a worst-case scenario, a poor analysis may actually prevent a business from developing any marketing strategy. A bad analysis does not give businesses the necessary material to create an accurate forecast for consumer preferences. This accurate forecast is key in marketing effectively.

Unable to market effectively

The ability to personalize marketing is extremely important to the successful modern-day marketer. Marketing personalization is the premier tool for marketers because it can be used in a variety of ways. Personalization reduces stress for businesses, brings back the disconnected customer, and improves email metrics. Personalization is no longer a choice for businesses, as marketers say it is the most important capability to marketing in the future.

When data clouds a business’s ability to personalize marketing, sales are sure to suffer. Businesses currently personalizing web experiences see a 19% increase in sales on average, according to Econsultancy. The reason for sales increase? Customers like  the custom, tailored messages they receive from businesses. If unable to offer personalization, businesses will lose customers to their competitors providing a tailored, 1:1 marketing approach.

The snowball effect

Bad data management is one of those problems that are susceptible to the snowball effect. If not fixed quickly, poor data management can grow into a larger problem and, eventually, spiral out of control.

Unorganized data management system is much easier to fix in its early stages of development. For example, a data management system that catches a problem early on should not require much effort to make a quick fix. In contrast, businesses that have ignored a necessary data cleanup for years would need to take several steps back to fix problems. In a worst-case scenario, the business might need to create a new customer database from scratch.

If you’re curious or concerned about the state of your data management, take a close look your material. Reexamine any data already collected, and extract any dirty data from the data pool. Review your data management platform and ensure that it is reliable, working as an effective, helpful tool. Reevaluate any good data you have, and use that to create tailored messages for your consumers. Lastly, remind your marketers and data analysts the importance of good data, and encourage proper data management practices across your company.

Today’s consumers are bombarded with marketing. For consumers, the never-ending onslaught of marketing messages across digital and traditional marketing channels is a desensitizing experience, and customers quickly learn to ignore and filter marketing that does not instantly resonate with their needs.

Marketing personalization helps cut through the noise by smartly combining state of the art marketing tech with traditional marketing know-how. By personalizing a customer’s experience, disconnected customers quickly turn into engaged, loyal brand advocates.

Marketing personalization is the most important capability for marketers in years to come. 74% of consumers get frustrated with content that doesn’t appeal to their interests. Customers simply don’t have the time or attention span to sift through hundreds of marketing messages that aren’t personalized for them. Studies consistently show that personalized marketing increases various KPIs by significant amounts. One research brief found that personalized marketing improved clickthrough rates by 14% and conversion rates by 10%. Personalized content that targets an individual is more likely to receive attention and, as a result, increase revenue.

So, how can companies reach out to disconnected customers with a marketing personalization strategy? Companies can adjust their marketing strategies based on how personalization would be most effective for each individual customer. In most cases, personalized marketing either acts as an initial introduction to new products or is the final push a customer needs before finalizing their purchase.

Initial Introduction

I often receive emails from my favorite retailers announcing new products and special offers. Oftentimes this content is specifically tailored to my past purchases and buying behaviors. For example, consider the following email I received from Nordstrom. At the bottom of a confirmation email for new shoes I had recently purchased, Nordstrom listed other items that I might be interested in.

My purchase from Nordstrom
My purchase from Nordstrom
Nordstrom's recommended products for me, based off that first purchase
Nordstrom’s recommended products for me, based off that first purchase

Before receiving this email, I had no plans for shopping with Nordstrom in the near future. I was disconnected from the retailer. However, upon seeing the recommended apparel, I was intrigued. I had become reconnected with Nordstrom. And, a couple weeks later, I drove down to Nordstrom for a closer look at one of the products that had been recommended, which I later ended up buying.

Personalized birthday emails are another way to introduce disconnected customers to the retailer. A timely birthday email with special offers can create an opportunity for the birthday guy or gal to spend recently acquired gift money or gift cards on the retailer.

Final Push

Personalization can also be the final push a disconnected consumer needs when he or she has not completed a transaction. Abandoned cart emails are a perfect example of this. When a customer strays from a website leaving behind a shopping cart full of products, an automated email that checks in with the customer can lead to a completed sale.

Cart abandonment email from ASOS.com
Cart abandonment email from ASOS.com

Cart abandonment emails are a must-have for any online retailer. According to Salecycle, nearly half of all cart abandonment emails are opened and 1 out of 3 clicks result in a purchase made on site. These emails prod disconnected customers back to the website, reconnecting them with the retailer.

A Final Note

When considering disconnected customers, implementing omnichannel strategies is a must. Marketing personalization can appear across a variety of platforms. A customer who is inactive on email may be disconnected from a company via email. However, this customer may be accessible via SMS or social media networks. A customer that is not responsive to a certain channel should not be regarded as “disconnected,” as this could simply be a matter of channel preference. An omnichannel strategy can help distinguish truly disconnected customers.



In a market that places increasingly more importance on creating a customer-centric experience, today’s top marketers must utilize personalized, 1:1 marketing strategies to drive sales and stay competitive with other companies. However, some personalized marketing efforts are more effective than others. While we have talked about some great omnichannel marketing winners, we’ll be focusing on personalized marketing winners. We’ve determined five brands that offer some of the best personalized marketing campaigns.


Amazon incorporates personalization into marketing automation emails, as well as on their website. Last September, I experienced Amazon’s marketing personalization first-hand, when I received three emails from the company within the week following a purchase of textbooks.

The first email I received was an order confirmation email. The email confirmed that my payment had gone through, that my order had been made, and – most importantly – included a thank you for shopping with Amazon. The second email I received confirmed that my order had been shipped and, once again, thanked me for my purchase. The final email I received was signed from TextbooksTexas, but was sent through Amazon. I received confirmation that my order had been delivered, a request for review, and yet another thank you.


While each of these emails contain different content, they all thank the customer for making a purchase. Incorporating a simple “thank you” can turn a standard confirmation email into an intimate shopping experience, making the customer feel appreciated. Showing gratitude makes the customer feel valued, which increases the likelihood for loyalty and future purchases.

In addition to emails, Amazon also implements personalized marketing when customers visit their sites. A widget at the bottom of their home page lists recently viewed and recommended items for past customers, based on previous purchases. Because my past purchases had been textbooks for journalism and human rights classes, my widget was filled of different books of the same nature.



Anthropologie has one of the best personalized marketing strategies for their customers’ birthdays. The retailer sends several emails to consumers over the course of their birthday month. At the beginning of the month, Anthropologie sends an email inviting the birthday guy or gal to a birthday soiree at the nearest store, complete with appetizers, personal styling, and discounts. Anthro also sends multiple emails throughout the month with special codes for discounts to birthday customers.

People like to celebrate their birthdays with family, friends, and loved ones. As Anthropologie sends customers birthday celebration emails, the retailer nonchalantly categorizes itself into the same category as those friends and loved ones. This simple personalization technique gives Anthropologie another dimension: a company that wants to maintain a close relationship – not just another sale.

anthrolopologie-15-percent-off anthropologie-celebrate-birthday











Hostelworld.com is the world’s number one hostel booking website – an accomplishment that can be explained by their personalized marketing strategy.

After one stays in a hostel booked through Hostelworld, he or she receives an email requesting a review about their stay. If, after a few days, the traveler still has not reviewed their stay, Hostelworld sends out a friendly reminder email. In big bold letters at the top of the email, Hostelworld tells the user, “We value your opinion.” Hostelworld also sends an email to its users six months following their last use of the site. This email is a reminder to travelers that Hostelworld is still around, and highly values their business.

In both of these emails, Hostelworld emphasizes the high value they place on each of their users. And, when a customer feels valued, they are likely to become repeat users.

hostelworld-opinion hostelworld-reminder-email




Similar to Amazon, Spotify incorporates personalized marketing through emails and their actual site in order to generate and maintain subscriptions.

Spotify sends out several emails each month with recommendations for music to the subscriber. These recommendations are based off of music that the user has previously listened to on Spotify. In addition, users have the option to discover new music recommended by Spotify on the Spotify platform. These recommendations, again, are based off of music the listener has listened to in the past.

spotify-additional-recommendations spotify-personal-recommendations


The retailer is another company that has utilized personalization through marketing automated emails to drive sales. Interested in bringing back past customers who have not visited their online store in a while, the company sends out an email with a special promo code for discounts on items on the site. Asos also sends out abandoned shopping cart emails to customers who have left the site without purchasing items they placed in their cart. As online studies show that 60% of online shoppers return to the site to make purchases after receiving an abandoned shopping cart email, Asos’s marketing automation techniques are a strategic implementation.

asos-come-back-email asos-recall-email









In both types of emails, the importance Asos places on keeping tabs on past customers is very clear. Forbes explains the importance of customer retention through statistics, like Gartner Group’s findings that 80% of a company’s future revenue will come from 20% of existing customers.

Wrapping it up

From using personalization to celebrate birthdays, to keeping customers engaged, companies utilize various 1:1 marketing techniques to generate sales. And, as data usage and omni-channel develop further, we can’t wait to see what personalized marketing campaigns await in 2015!