Case Study: Better Business Bureau's Data-Based Marketing

The Better Business Bureau of Central, Northern, and Western Arizona (BBB) faced a significant challenge: A data analysis to identify critical trends and behaviors among the BBB's accredited businesses by Phoenix-based AIR Marketing indicated the organization had been maintaining an approximate 30 percent risk of losing accredited businesses between the business' first and second years of accreditation. After the second year of accreditation, there was a better than 90 percent probability the business would continue to be accredited with the bureau indefinitely.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> The BBB's CEO, Matthew Fehling, was a passionate advocate of utilizing the powerful data the organization held to enhance and increase the BBB's bottom line, and the data from AIR Marketing's analysis highlighted to the BBB just how crucial and valuable an integrated communications program for newly accredited businesses could be to retaining them within these critical years.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> Given the importance and trust held within the community regarding BBB-accredited businesses, the bureau recognized the need to retain business accreditation to not only increase company revenue, but to maintain the bureau's mission to inspire consumer trust in the marketplace. Normally, businesses become accredited to validate their commitment to doing business with integrity and to show their customers they can trust them. On the other hand, when businesses drop their accreditation, it's usually because they don't feel they are getting high enough visibility or financial benefit or because of a lack of understanding about benefits services offered to BBB-accredited businesses and the communities served. Together with BBB executives, AIR Marketing created a data-based marketing campaign to touch these businesses with many different types of communications. Information delivered through the campaign included both tangible benefits of BBB-accreditation and work being done in the community to help build an environment where buyers and sellers can trust each other.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> Ultimately, the BBB saw a critical need to be proactive and not reactive to potential attrition.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> <b>The Solution</b><br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> Based on the data generated from the analysis, AIR Marketing developed a survey for the BBB's current accredited businesses to gauge potential reasons why a business might leave, what information it was interested in receiving from the bureau, and how businesses like to receive their information (i.e., mail, e-mail, phone call, etc.). This information provided AIR Marketing with powerful data to develop a strategic and automated campaign designed to provide businesses meaningful targeted information that was of interest to them, while translating into accreditation renewals.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> To control costs, the bureau automated the outreach campaign to first- and second-year accreditation businesses. Under this campaign program, during the most “at-risk” years for potential attrition, businesses received meaningful and targeted communications with information each business indicated was important to them. For most of the businesses reached during the campaign, the information delivered included valuable details on how many inquiries they have received on their company, what upcoming opportunities there are, etc. In addition, these communications were augmented by telephone calls and other contacts directly from bureau staff.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> <b>The Results</b><br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> Between 2006 and 2007, the BBB saw an increase in its renewal revenue from $2.1 million to $2.8 million and welcomed 6,500 renewed accreditation contracts. The bureau also experienced an increase in overall revenue.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> The National Council of Better Business Bureaus recognized the Better Business Bureau of Central, Northern, and Western Arizona for its success with the campaign, and the campaign model has been adopted by other states. CEO Fehling and Felicia Thompson, director of BBB Marketing & Communications, also were recognized for the proactive outreach campaign that resulted in increased renewals and revenue.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> <i>Marketing communications firm AIR Marketing utilizes Analytics and Imagination to deliver measurable Results (AIR). The company's current proprietary products include Cyclone, a suite of analytics and marketing automation tools that provide real-time, in-depth analysis of customer information, and TouchPoints, a data-based Web application that markets directly to individual customers based on their behavior and preferences. For more information, go to <a href="" target="_blank"></a>.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> The Better Business Bureau of Central, Northern, and Western Arizona (BBB) is an unbiased organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Businesses that earn BBB accreditation contractually agree and adhere to the organization's high standards of ethical business behavior. </i>