'A-Comm' : Turning Your Schedule Into a Strategic Marketing Tool

May 5, 2016 Peter Krasilovsky

Many SMBs only recently graduated from paper-based schedules to electronic schedules. BIA/Kelsey surveys show that 14.5%  of SMBs now have electronic calendars.   Electronic schedules make it easy to block out times, shift appointments and maintain customer lists.  

Thanks to advances in marketing automation,  electronic schedules are more exciting than that: they can be used most effectively to anchor “A-Comm,” or Appointment Commerce.  With A- Comm, they can target customers with special promotions to fill  last minute openings and slow days; send reminders to book again;  upsell  and cross-sell them on relevant products; and solicit reviews.

There is also a Big Data angle: Schedules contain the customer frequency and other data .  Matched with other data, such as referral, promotion and transaction and invoice history. it can help  better understand  customer habits and spending, and allow SMBs to re-tailor their marketing approaches.  With such capabilities, schedules have gone from being transactional to starting a whole new conversation in marketing.

Frederick (recently acquired by Booker)  is one of the state-of-the-art marketing automation companies going in this direction. The company was  launched in 2014.

Frederick analyzes busines and customer data found in scheduling systems.   In Booker's case,  it will look at an SMB's customer transaction history, service sale-through rates, staff utilization rates, daily occupancy and utilization information. Frederick uses this data to develop a 1:1 marketing plan for that customer.

Frederick CEO and co-founder Corey Kossack told us that Frederick customers are seeing an average, year-over-year revenue growth of 30 percent. “What we have found is that structured data can be used to drive better results than segmenting a Constant Contact list,” he says.

About the Author

Peter Krasilovsky runs Local Onliner, a consulting firm that focuses on how digital channels target local consumers. “Local” has been a focus for him since 1995-96, and the firm's practice now includes search, marketplaces, geotargeting, vertical media and loyalty and promotion services. Peter was Chief Analyst and Vice President for BIA/Kelsey from 2006-2015. He holds an MA from The Annenberg School of Communications at The University of Southern California and a BA from Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, NY. He currently resides with his wife Sharon in Ashland, Oregon.

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