Campaign Suppression: Don’t Spend More, Spend Smarter

Posted by Monica Roberts

Jan 30

Campaign Suppression: Don’t Spend More, Spend Smarter

Do you recall a time in the not so distance past when the first course of action for marketers was to open the pocket book in order to drive more traffic?  Maybe this is still the case for your organization.

psychographics marketing

As our customer lists grow, so do the channels in which we can target.  For this reason, consumer touchpoints are saturated with marketing material in all aspects of their life.   From print to email to mobile, it is critical now, more than ever, that we manage our customer lists and suppress those individuals no longer in-market.  This activity will not only improve the performance of your campaign, but also your bottom line and your customer’s experience.  Suppression also opens up the possibility of expanding your reach if list volume is a factor.

Reasons for Suppression

As marketers, we are challenged to drive incremental sales at lower costs while delivering effective reach and improving targeting efficiency.  For this reason campaign suppression is increasingly important. 

In some cases, the lead may have been part of a recent campaign causing newer campaigns to appear as SPAM.  Therefore, you may not want to target a similar product to that customer too soon.  While, the frequency in which you target customers will depend on the product you are trying to sell, it is important to find that happy medium.

Your campaign prospects may have also recently purchased your product and therefore are early in the owner cycle.  Again, this will depend on the product and the product’s disposal rate.  Not only is this concept true for your own customers, but also for consumers who recently purchased a competitor’s product.

Take recreational vehicles for example.  Individuals do not typically purchase these products on a regular cadence.  Therefore, marketing activity post-purchase can leave a bad taste in the mouths of the consumers.  Instead, focus on customer service and retention.  When customers reach the end of the product cycle, they are more likely to be loyal to your product with a positive owner experience. 

In the case where the customer purchased a competitive product, you can also utilize this time to strategize ways to conquest the individual when they reemerge in the marketplace.

Finally, demographics can play a role in list suppression.   Whether you are a mom and pop shop or a global organization, you will want to keep tabs on your customer’s demographics. 

For instance, if your customer moved out of your marketable area you can eliminate the wasted sales effort.  You may also want to consider any language barriers from one product to the next if applicable.  With suppression, you can focus engagement efforts on high opportunity geographies and individuals.

These are only a few examples.  To learn more, HubSpot has taken it a step further and defined 7 Ways to Create Suppression Lists

The Campaign

Once the list is finalized you may see a reduction of leads by 5-20%.  However, this range will vary greatly on the industry and the product.  This reduction translates into cost savings per touchpoint.  It also opens the door to dig deeper into the campaign list if relevant and available.  Upon execution of the campaign, you will be able to measure the effectiveness over time with the expectation that suppression will translate into increased lift. 

This process allows you to focus your marketing efforts on consumers who haven’t yet purchased instead of investing in leads no longer in market.  It will also will help improve the efficiency of your marketing dollars and avoid nagging the very customers you are working to retain. 

Knowing who to target is only half the battle.  To understand the impact of your marketing you must look at performance all the way through conversion.

This does not mean we don’t want to keep tabs on suppressed customers.  Where available and relevant, you may be able to determine when a customer has reengaged or back in-market.   Such indications may include:  online search activities, service history (in the case of the RV example), or even in some extreme circumstances, tracking with geo-location services.

Our Responsibility

With the increased access to ‘big data’, we can now improve the efficiency in which we enhance our customer lists with data-driven solutions.  Using segment profiles and individual lead attributes, planners and creatives can develop customized communication and experiences.  In a competitive environment, these experiences communicate the right message with the right offer at the right time with the most compelling creative.


This is a responsibility we owe to our customers and with the ability to limit the targeted messages they receive, it is our duty to do so.

Happy targeting!

Topics: campaigns

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