Case Study: Planning and forecasting in direct marketing

For Direct Wines, the world's largest direct-to-consumer wine merchant, Golden Orb were engaged to develop a management information and forecasting tool, covering campaign planning, analysis and forecasting. Nothing comparable was available off-the-shelf, so Golden Orb developed a comprehensive system using the Compas framework which:

  • let marketers plan forthcoming recruitment and customer marketing campaigns
  • allowed Finance to see the aggregate future P&L implications of these marketing plans
  • provided the operations team with daily forecasts of orders, cases and phone calls to allow them to manage resources
  • provided comprehensive reporting of actual and planned sales volumes and financials - down to net contribution level
  • carried out automatic reforecasting of campaign response
  • modelled future sales from the company's continuity business with a high degree of accuracy
  • calculated lifetime value per recruit and evaluated recruitment campaigns and media in terms of return on investment (ROI)

The project raised a number of challenges which played to Compas's strengths - both technical and analytical. The first was to provide a consistent Data Warehouse holding data from a variety of source systems across the world which used different assumptions and approaches to coding data. The second was to present a simple and intuitive user interface which would be available across the world and would provide responsive access to, and analysis of, up-to-date data 24 hours a day. The third challenge was to incorporate highly sophisticated forecasting and planning tools to allow the client to learn from experience and continuously reforecast future sales. The Compas framework turned out to be perfect for these challenges, as it blends a powerful Oracle database  with an attractive and highly configurable user interface.

The system is now firmly embedded in their planning and reporting processes. Performance is good, access to data within the business is much better than it has ever been in the past and the Compas framework is proving an excellent platform onto which to build new functionality. Automated batch processes load new sales overnight and re-forecast running campaigns for each market; this provides an updated snapshot each morning, not only of campaign sales to the end of the financial year, but also of the anticipated knock-on effect on the company’s continuity business.

At the time, the Global CEO of Direct Wines said of the work:

At the heart of the Direct Wines business (best known for our Laithwaite’s Wine and Sunday Times Wine Club brands), are decisions we make about where to invest our marketing spend: which consumers we should be aiming to recruit as new customers; which channel (e-mail, the web, direct mail, the phone, etc) we should be using to encourage those customers to buy more of their wines from us and how to assess the profitability of all of our different marketing activity.

Having never solved this problem properly, we turned to Golden Orb to create a simple, clear and clean system, which everyone (from CEO to Marketing Assistant) would find easy to use, to crack the problem once and for all.

Now rolled out into all our businesses worldwide, our Global Marketing System provides the guiding star which leads our marketers in the right direction and gives us the visibility over the return that we have achieved (and could achieve) on all marketing investment.

The people, software and service from Golden Orb have all been exceptional. If it’s insight you seek, don’t look any further.

Click here to learn more about how Compas would benefit your organisation.