online channels will be more responsive and will make more purchases online. Drawing a channel chain (Figure 2.10) for different customers is useful to help understand this. It is also useful to have a flag within the database which indicates the customers' channel preference and, by implication, the best channel to target them by. Customers that prefer online channels can be targeted mainly by online communications such as e-mail, while customers that prefer traditional channels can be targeted by traditional communications such as direct mail or phone.

5 Tone and style preference

In a similar manner to channel preference, customers will respond differently to different types of message. Some may like a more rational appeal, in which case a detailed e-mail explaining the benefits of the offer may work best. Others will prefer an emotional appeal based on images and with warmer, less formal copy. Sophisticated companies will test for this in customers or infer it using profile characteristics and response behaviour and then develop different creative treatments accordingly. Companies that use polls can potentially use this to infer style preferences. To summarise this section, read the Mini Case Study 4.2 which illustrates the combination of these different forms of communication.

Mini Case Study 4.2

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