26 February 2007

Boomerangs in Search of a Name

I talked in The Fundamental Campaign Segmentation about the four possible classes of targets for marketing. Three of these have names that everyone seems reasonably happy with:

  • Persuadables, who are made likely to buy (or stay) by our actions;
  • Dead Certs / Sure Things, who are likely to buy (or stay) whether we treat them or not. (Originally I was calling these “Dead Certs”, but it seems that this is a bit of UK-only idiom, while “Sure Things”, being American, is in some sense more “international”);
  • Lost Causes, who are unlike to buy (or stay) whether we treat them or not.

However, the last group, containing those we affect negatively by treatment, is more controversial. In a retention context, these are the people whom we actually trigger to leave. I had called them “Sleeping Dogs”, because we should “let them lie”. In a cross-selling context, where the effect is real but less pronounced, I had called them “Boomerangs”, because they come back and hit you in the face.

Ironically, rather like controversial advertising that polarizes customers, these two terms seem adored by some, and hated by others (at least within Portrait). The people who like them like the fact that they are memorable, particularly once they've been explained. The people who hate them, dislike the fact that they tend to need to be explained, which is much less true of the other segment names.

This blog's pretty young, but in case anyone is reading, I thought I'd list some other possibilities and solicit feedback and alternative suggestions. Here are some other possibilities, most of which could apply in a retention or a selling context, but some of which are specific to retention.

  • Boomerangs
  • Sleeping Dogs (probably retention only)
  • Contrarians
  • Hair Triggers (only for retention)
  • Perverse-Like-Cats
  • Cats
  • Backfires
  • Shoot-Yourself-in-the-Foots
  • Suicides
  • Too-Hot-to-Handles
  • Only-Make-Things-Worses
  • Drive Aways
  • Lose-Loses
  • Don't-Even-Think-About-Its
  • Worse-than-Nothings
  • Negative Impacts
  • Negative Reactors.
  • Renegades
  • Do Not Disturbs
  • UXBs
  • Rebels
  • Repelled

Needless to say, neither “Perverts” (OED, perverse a. Persistent in error; different from what is reasonable or required…) nor “Screw You”s (or worse) is considered usable, however apposite they may be!

Use the comments or mail me (see the Author link) if you have any thoughts, suggestions, alternatives or comments.

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