No More Carpet Bombing

No More Carpet Bombing

Why data driven campaigning works better

“Carpet bombing, also known as saturation bombing, is a large aerial bombing done in a progressive manner to inflict damage in every part of a selected area of land. The phrase evokes the image of explosions completely covering an area, in the same way that a carpet covers a floor. Carpet bombing is usually achieved by dropping many unguided bombs.” (Source: Wikipedia)


In last week’s blog post, Glenn Moncrieff described how uplift models can provide a business with ways to characterise a customer base according to their individual likelihoods to respond to a given marketing strategy. Just to recap, these were: 

  • respond positively (Persuadables)
  • respond negatively (Sleeping Dogs)
  • respond anyway (Sure Things)
  • won’t ever respond  (Lost Causes)

These models allow you to focus your marketing at people who are positively susceptible to your strategy, saving you money and increasing ROI. Uplift models are a critical part of the toolkit that data scientists bring to data driven marketing campaigns and this week we thought we’d take a look at why data driven approaches are much more efficient than conventional methods.

When in doubt, guess

Traditional marketing strategies are based, at best on experience, training or logic, and at worst on seniority or guesswork. They can involve an assessment phase where a campaign’s efficacy is tested on a group of consumers. Their response is monitored (sometimes), and the most successful campaign rolled out. 


Today however, in the world of Big Data, marketing strategies are increasingly being driven by data and predictive analytics. As a result, marketing teams are being empowered to explore more defensible courses of action, thus eliminating much of the guesswork and luck.

Smart targeting is always better 
Instead of ‘carpet bombing’ potential consumers with the same advertising campaign, rather incorporate data into the decision-making process. A business that does this can create a much more focused campaign, with corresponding savings and measurable impact. One good example that comes to mind is the US satellite TV provider DIRECTV. Using data from the post office, DIRECTV targeted their marketing at households who had recently moved home. By highlighting the ease of their product installation during one of the most stressful times in a potential customer’s life, the company realised a significant increase in conversion rates. Now that's smart.


There are various other strategies for detecting important customer events such as birth of a child or promotion at work, leading to a more accurate description of customer lifetime value. Employing data driven campaigns in your business can increase customer engagement and spend in meaningful and - more importantly - predictable ways.


If you suspect you’ve been dropping unguided bombs in your marketing campaigns, do contact us. Your CFO will be glad you did.

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About Author

Philip has worked as a consultant on several marine research projects and as a research assistant on a study assessing history and current fluctuations in maritime populations. His M.Sc. in conservation biology resulted in a publication on the behaviour of female southern elephant seals, a species that was once almost hunted to extinction. He is passionate about data-driven research and has outstanding data analysis and data visualisation skills.

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