Friday, October 20, 2006

How Many Slots Can Fit on the Head of a Pin?

Infor (, an enterprise software vendor which now owns Epiphany marketing software, was one of four winners of the CRM Magazine 2006 CRM Elite Award for its deployment at Interval International, a vacation exchange network. One critical component was Web site personalization: “Instead of delivering 12 offers on two spots on its Web site as in the past, Interval is able to deliver more than 150 offers on 45 locations on the site.”

In Client X Client terminology, those “two spots” which grew to “45 locations” are as “slots”. Expanding their number and targeting the messages they contain are critical to increasing the value of each customer experience. That the Infor software allowed Interval International to do this, apparently with little or no staff increase, is indeed prize-worthy.

It also highlights the fact that the number of slots is not fixed. Interval International added 43 slots to its Web site, and presumably could find space for a 44th. How many decals can you fit on a NASCAR racer? How many products can you place in a single movie?

The real question is not how many slots are possible, but how many can be effective. Presumably the limiting factor is customer attention: at some point, customers simply won’t even notice more messages. But attention is not a fixed quantity: if you can make the interaction last longer (without annoying the customer) or more engaging, you have more opportunities to present your messages. And, of course, the quality and relevance of the messages themselves also affects their impact.

I can imagine some interesting theories about all this, but only concrete measurement will give real results. So it’s important when planning one’s slots to build in ways to measure their impact.

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