More than a hundred years ago, direct marketers came up with the solution known as Recency, Frequency, and Monetary value (RFM), which is a law of marketing, just as Newton’s Law is a law of physics. Don’t stray too far from the basics and you’ll be able to learn from its principles.
Unless this is your first marketing book (and I’d be very honored if that’s the case), you’ve probably learned about RFM before. Just about every marketing book on the planet will mention RFM. It’s the lens that all of us should view our constituents through.
Recency simply means how recently the constituent exhibited a desired behavior. For example, if you were a grocery store owner, this would mean a shopping trip. If you were a nonprofit, this might mean the last time a constituent volunteered or donated something. Only you can determine what is the desired behavior for your organization.
When it comes to RFM, knowledge truly is power. The more you know about your constituents—especially when it comes to Recency—the more you can leverage that information to drive future desired actions. Recency is the most power ful single factor affecting customer repurchase. The person most likely to buy from you again is the customer who bought from you most recently. Recency implies retention, which is more important than Frequency. Why? Because when people stop engaging with you, they’re hard to win back (we demonstrated that with a nice graph a few chapters back). As long ...