Data Management

Forecasting Household Response in Database Marketing: A Latent Trait Approach

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Executive Summary

Database marketers often select households for individual marketing contacts using information on past purchase behavior. One of the most common methods, known as RFM variables approach, ranks households according to three criteria: the recency of the latest purchase event, the long-run frequency of purchases, and the cumulative dollar expenditure. The authors argue that RFM variables approach is an indirect measure of the latent purchase propensity of the customer. In addition, the use of RFM information in targeting households creates major statistical problems (selection bias and RFM endogeneity) that complicate the calibration of forecasting models.

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