Going batty: baseball and softball bat price points–along with performance–continue to rise

What’s the first word when it comes to baseball and slow pitch softball bats? Manufacturers such as Easton, Mizuno, Louisville Slugger, Akadema, DeMarini and Worth would like it to be their brand name. But as dealers and retailers will tell you, loyalty ranks behind performance, not to mention price.

“The market is driven by the bats that are perceived to hit the ball the farthest,” says Tom Seegmiller, owner of the Locker Room in St. George, UT. “The baseball and softball categories differ a bit, but in both it usually comes down to performance, particularly on upper-end bats.”

Travis Thompson, manager at GoJo Sports in Fort Collins, CO, echoes Seegmiller’s thoughts. “Most people know what they want,” he says. “Some have a price ceiling. But for the most part, if they want a bat, they’ll get it.”

Technology is obviously the key to performance. Composite is the big thing right now, and many manufacturers are developing enhanced models that capitalize on this trend (see sidebar on page 32). Most dealers report that Easton is their most popular brand, with Louisville Slugger, DeMarini, Mizuno and Worth all doing well at retail as well.

Relative newcomers to the bat market are also making an impression on consumers. For example, Lawrence Gilligan, president of Akadema in Garfield, NJ, is elated at how quickly his company’s aluminum Xtension series has caught on with high school and college players. Schutt, of Litchfield, IL, is getting into the game, too, with the introduction of a new series of composite bats for fast-pitch.

Meanwhile, Bill Higgins, director of purchasing at Brine Sporting Goods in Sudbury, MA, says that Rawlings is creating a buzz with a lightweight youth bat that goes for just $39.99. “It’s a -11 model,” he says. “Typically, a bat like this will fall in the $80 range.”

Matt Arndt, director of baseball/softball at Easton in Van Nuys, CA, says a lot of factors go into pricing bats from the manufacturer’s side. “There are vastly different characteristics in who’s playing softball and baseball, and what technology they want,” he explains. “Pricing also depends on the cost of developing and making a bat, and what the market will bear. At Easton, we have so many different platforms and products. There is some elasticity in the market in terms of price.”

Tim Lord, business team leader of marketing for Diamond Sports at Worth in Fenton, MO, has observed price points rising for high-end bats. “If you have something that performs and holds up over time, people will pay,” he says.

James Sass, director of marketing for Louisville Slugger, Louisville, KY, feels price is determined in part by the consumers. “In slow-pitch, users are normally doing the buying,” he says. “Prices can climb faster in this category. In baseball, parents often do the buying for their kids, so price is a factor. In fast-pitch, price doesn’t seem like a concern at all.”

For Higgins, the formula for success isn’t complicated at all. “The lower the price of the bat, the more volume you will sell,” he notes.

Another factor that influences bat sales is aesthetics. Loren Samuelson, corporate president at Lee’s Pro Shop in Pine City, MN, has an interesting take on this topic. His store does a booming bat business, especially in softball, thanks in part to its sponsorship of a high-level slow-pitch team. Lee’s carries an impressive selection of softball and baseball bats, and its reputation among local consumers as an expert in the category is unparalleled. His opinion on aesthetics? “A 250-pound softball player won’t step in the box with a pink bat,” he says.

Chad Robertson, business unit manager for Mizuno USA in Norcross, GA, agrees. “In the grand scheme of things, performance is the overwhelming aspect, but aesthetics play a role,” he says. “We try to use bright colors, something that will stand out at retail from 300 feet away.”

Retail, by the way, is where most dealers sell bats. Indeed, team business in baseball and softball is minimal. Higgins puts the ratio at 70% retail and 30% team at Brine. Other dealers report similar numbers. Thompson says that most of GoJo’s team business is generated by local softball organizations. “Price is No. 1 with them,” he adds. “They come in at the beginning of the year with limited budgets.”

Samuelson also has helpful insight on buying habits. “In February, we get a lot of top-level softball players who are getting ready for the upcoming season,” he says. “In April and May, most of our customers are rec league players.”

Seegmiller, meanwhile, has noticed a change in the buying season. “In the old days, it went from December to March,” he says. “Now consumers want next year’s bat now.”

“When the youth baseball All-Star teams are named and tournaments begin, we get a lot of kids looking for new bats,” Seegmiller continues. “Little Leaguers tend to want really light bats. In high school, players ask for upper-end bats with lots of features–33-inch length is popular.”

Higgins adopts an active approach with his customers. “I try to fit kids with as light a bat as possible,” he says. “They always want a bat that’s too long. Once a kid turns 11 or 12, his parents may step up to a higher price point. Under this age, parents will look for something inexpensive.”

Given all the factors that influence bat sales, what are the keys to maximizing business in this category? Manufacturers and dealers alike have advice.

* “There’s not a great deal of loyalty in slow-pitch from consumers,” says Robertson. “Word of mouth is big in softball. Check the Internet message boards. Consumers sometimes know what’s coming before our salesmen do.”

* Since he is one of the new bat guys on the block, Gilligan naturally urges dealers to experiment with different brands. “Like anything else, don’t get stuck with just one or two manufacturers,” he says. “Kids want variety. They like alternatives. Take a chance on newer items.”

* Sass believes that nothing beats the feel of a bat in player’s hands. “Demos can be a real service to bring in consumers,” he says. “Give them a chance to swing a bat before a purchase.”

* Lord advises dealers to know their customer base. “You’re servicing three different consumers,” he says. “There’s always that person who cares only about price. Then there’s the value customer who wants technology at a good price. Lastly, there’s the upper-end consumer who will pay anything for an advantage.

“Mid and low price points are becoming more competitive,” Lord adds. “Technology is improving but price isn’t necessarily rising. Aesthetics are extremely important in this segment.”

Higgins concurs with Lord. “We’re in a wealthy area of Massachusetts, so we can move high-end product,” he says. “Educate yourself about bat technology. Bats made with similar materials should sell for a similar price. That being said, it always surprises me how much people will spend on a bat.”

* Seegmiller says the dealers should keep a close eye on the industry. “Get the newest bats as early as possible,” he notes. “Our 2005 models are already starting to be discounted. Avoid going real deep in inventory. Try to be out of upper-end bats, so you’re ready for new models.”

* Inventory is also the focus for Thompson. “At retail, we sell mostly to kids ages 12 to high school,” he says. “For them, it’s crucial to keep bats in-stock year-round. Most players know what they want, but the parents of younger kids may need help. Learn why one bat is more expensive than another. Consumers feel comfortable talking about bats. Make sure you are, too.”

* Samuelson urges dealers to consider sponsorships. “Our softball team is very important to our bottom line,” he says. “We supply them with 10 to 20 bats to start the year. They really help us promote the bats we carry in the store. Opposing players know they can swing them at our bench.”

“We price according to the Internet,” Samuelson adds. “We have one price for team and retail. Our goal is to move product.”


What do manufacturers have in the on-deck circle? Here’s a rundown from some of the industry’s top brands:

Easton, Stealth CNT and Synergy CNT … The CNT stands for carbon nanotube technology. Developed in conjunction Zyvex, this advancement strengthens composite structures to provide improved handle designs with optimized flex, responsiveness, and more “kick” through the hitting zone. Easton has introduced two models: the Stealth CNT and Synergy CNT.

“We pioneer real technology,” says Matt Arndt. “Every couple of years, we come up with something really exciting, and CNT is the latest. Before long, you’ll see this technology used in other sports and industries.”

Mizuno, Techfire Envy and Jennie Finch Signature Series … Chad Robertson calls the Envy the “evolution of composite technology. The feedback we’ve received from players is that they want improved feel and a bigger sweet spot,” he says. “The Envy is a slow-pitch bat certified for all association play.”

Fast-pitch is becoming a major focus for Mizuno, too. This is where the Jennie Finch Signature Series enters the picture. “These bats feature Banzai aluminum for great performance and durability,” says Robertson.

Louisville Slugger, Dynasty ST+20 … The company has worked with Alcoa to develop ST+20, a new alloy that James Sass says is 20% stronger and tougher than that used in the company’s Warrior series. “This has given us more design flexibility,” he explains. “A lot of manufacturers focus on the bat handle. Our approach is the exact opposite. We offer a stiff handle with a barrel that flexes. This keeps the ball on the barrel longer.”

Akadema, Xtension with TX7 … New for this year is the addition of TX7 metal. “It’s more durable,” says Lawrence Gilligan. “The balance of this bat is unbelievable.”

Worth, Asylum Series with nanotechnology … The company has teamed up with Akzo Nobel to introduce its latest development. According to Tim Lord, Worth differs from others in its application of nanotechnology, using it the bat shell. “Asylum is a high-end series for baseball, slow-pitch and fast-pitch,” he says. “We also have the Mayhem series with ACT technology, a 100% composite line.”

Schutt, Bandit Series with Trebon–The company is entering the market with bats that incorporate Trebon, a combination of composite materials embedded in a polymer matrix. Precision engineered with the latest FEA software, the Bandit Series is designed for fast-pitch play.

MATTER OF Protection

At a time that the inventor of the baseball batting helmet back in the 1950s, died–and a year before many leagues and associations will begin mandating face guards on softball batting helmets–protective equipment continues to expand its importance in the baseball and softball markets. Manufacturers weigh in on what’s new and what consumers want.

All-Star (Shirley, MA) … The company is featuring a redesigned line, including chest protectors that utilize Ultra Cool and an anti-microbial material known as Aigeis. “We’re always moving toward equipment that’s safer, lighter and more comfortable,’ says All-Star president Stan Jurga.

Safe-T-Gard (Lakewood, CO) … The latest is the Cage Cup, which is lined with foam for comfort and covered with a plastic cage. Forty percent lighter than previous models, the Cage Cup is also promoted as being much cooler. “For both baseball and softball we are working on products for a smaller and younger age group,” says Sheila Gottsch, president of Safe-T-Gard. “Each year we get more and more requests for additional products in the 8-to-12 market.”

Adams (Cookeville, TN) … Trace leg guards with Cool-Max, and sliding shorts with Naturexx material. “We’ve been working a lot closer with Lisa Fernandez,” says Gary McNabb, co-owner of Adams. “A lot of dealers have told us that consumers want new products with a different look.”


Retail report card: running shoes

A survey of the service, selection, presentation and product knowledge of the sales personnel of five shoe stores in New York has been conducted. The superstores, Paragon Sporting Goods, had the highest rating because of its abundant selection of merchandise, fast service and cordial personnel. The performance of the other four stores, Herman’s Sporting Goods, The Sports Authority, Athlete’s Foot and Super Runner’s Shop, are presented.

On a sunny spring day in Manhattan, the Mystery Shopper searches the streets of the city to find the perfect pair of running shoes.

It’s a beautiful spring day in New York, the kind that brings runners out in droves to pound the not-so-mean streets of the city. And Mystery Shopper would like to be out there among them, except that my shabby running shoes have finally broken down to a point of no return. One more time of striking worn-down rubber against pavement, and I fear my freshly healed legs will once again be revisited by the demon of chronic shin splints.

So instead of heading toward the loop in Central Park, I make my way downtown to search for a new pair of running shoes that will let me join the throngs of runners, walkers, skaters and cyclists looking to escape, temporarily, from the concrete jungle.

My first stop is the expanded Herman’s Sporting Goods store on the outermost corner of Union Square. The bi-level store is designed with a light and airy feel, with an open staircase leading you downstairs to the footwear department. Spread across the back wall are several rows of athletic shoes for plantar fasciitis. I head toward the bright neon lights that highlight the “Women’s” section, and spotlight the various footwear categories.

The only problem is when I actually walk over to the “Running” area and discover that a good portion of the shoes fit in about as well as a tourist on a subway platform. Meshed among the so-called running display are aerobic, walking and even cross-training shoes.

When I do finally find actual running shoes, the selection is somewhat sparse. My choices are already limited to four brands – Nike, Reebok, Asics and New Balance – with a few models in each.

Picking up a shoe, I look around for some help, and spot one lone clerk assisting other customers. Patiently, I stroll in front of the display, peering around every few seconds to draw some attention. It doesn’t work. I stand there some more. Still no response.


Service                            C

Selection                          D

Presentation                       B

Product Knowledge                  C

Finally, the weary-looking sales assistant approaches, and asks if I need some help. I tell him that I’ve just recovered from an injury, and am looking to get back into running again.

Upon hearing that chronic shin splints were the cause of my temporary hiatus from the sport, the sales assistant instantly recommends the store’s top-of-the-line shoe, the Nike Air Max2. It takes my breath away – mostly because I spot the $129.99 price tag on the bottom.

When the color returns to my face, he explains that the shoe is extremely well cushioned, which should help protect against injury. Convinced that it will act as an insurance against future pain, I ask to see it in my size, a relatively average six. Alas – they don’t have any more sixes. He recommends the Nike Air Triax, which offers slightly less cushioning, at a decidedly lower price – $89. Another snag – also no sixes in stock. He has run out of options.

I sigh, and begin to turn away when I spot a sign telling customers to call a special 800-number if the store doesn’t have the shoe they want. Too late – I am determined to get out and start running without any more delays.

Leaving Herman’s, I walk across the street and up to the doors of Paragon Sporting Goods, New York’s original “superstore” and one of the city’s preeminent sporting goods retailers. I soon realize that it justly deserves its reputation.

Downstairs at Paragon is an abundant selection of footwear, with most of one wall devoted to women’s styles and a large section of running shoes. Nine brands are spread across the wall, including off-road and racing flat styles.

A sales clerk immediately approaches, and I give him the spiel. He asks more specifically about my injury, how long I’ve been out, when it started, what type of shoe I was wearing before. Quicker than a podiatrist can say “orthotics,” he tells me that I need a shoe with ample cushioning, but also some measure of stability. He recommends the lower-priced Nike Triax, sighting its improved stability over the more expensive version.

While I try on the shoe, this time in my size, he also volunteers to bring out an Asics model for comparison. With a little prompting, he gives me a case history on almost every type of running shoe, which brands have improved cushioning, how the materials differ, what the fundamental features are in each. This man has spent a lot of time studying footwear.

He leads me over to a set of treadmills to let me test out my two selections. I’m satisfied with the Triax, until I realize that my wallet is not, as I had imagined, in my backpack, but instead lying somewhere in my apartment.

Instead of staring me down with a dirty look, my sales clerk very nicely promises to put the bunion shoes in a holding bin until my return. I guiltily turn away, and head back home to search for my missing wallet.


Service                            A

Selection                          A

Presentation                       A-

Product Knowledge                  A

At this point, my feet are weary, and I’ve promised myself a break from the troubles of shoe shopping. But since I also don’t have enough money to hop on the subway home, I begin the trek back uptown to my apartment. On the way, I pass by the midtown Manhattan location of The Sports Authority (TSA).

What the hell, I think, I might as well check out what they have to offer. I probably shouldn’t have bothered.

Even with its somewhat limited city space, TSA offers a fairly cavernous version of its superstore. The footwear department easily takes up a quarter of the floor. Knowing TSA’s self-service approach to shopping, I quickly spot the women’s section, which is somewhat hidden toward the back of the store. There, I begin to scan the stacks of boxes for running shoes.


Service                            C

Selection                          B

Presentation                       C

Product Knowledge                  C

Although there is an ample selection – roughly two dozen types – the majority are again concentrated in a few brands, namely Nike and Reebok. And again, there are some questionable merchandising choices, with lifestyle shoes for high arches like the Reebok Classics mixed in with decidedly more technical running lines.

TSA also makes an effort to break footwear out by brands, with end displays featuring Nike, Reebok and New Balance. Among these, however, it’s difficult to determine which are men’s and which are women’s, and what the fundamental characteristics are of each. Plastic tags make some attempt to explain, but after a while, my eyes begin to glaze over.

Frustrated, I begin to look for some assistance, but there is none to be found. I wait some more, growing increasingly impatient before I spy one “Authority” in another section. I wave him over and ask him what he knows about running shoes, to which he cavalierly responds, “You run in them,” and promises to get me someone else to help.

The second “Authority” who approaches is more familiar with the merchandise. He also recommends the Nike Air Max shoes because of their cushioning, but mentions the store doesn’t have the top-end model. He searches the stacks of boxes for some other selections, pointing out some of the salient features in each brand, but can’t seem to find what I need. Finally, he recommends I try going to a Lady Foot Locker to test out the Air Max 2.

I take his advice, and leave without a purchase.

Freshly armed with my wallet, I leave my apartment and walk over to a nearby Athlete’s Foot store, where I am greeted by a few different sales personnel. Although the store does not have a wide selection of running shoes, they are merchandised together in one column, with a relatively deep assortment of brands.


Service                            A

Selection                          B

Presentation                       B

Product Knowledge                  A

A salesperson volunteers his assistance, and begins by measuring my feet to make sure the size I’ve given him is right. He then offers to bring out a few different types of shoes for me to try out. He also warms my heart by explaining that more expensive doesn’t always mean better, and that if I find a lower-priced shoe that feels comfortable, that’s just as well.

A few minutes later, he returns, laden down with a half dozen pair of shoes for me to try out, explaining the benefits and features of each. Together, we narrow down the choices to the Saucony Shadow 6000, which he explains is an updated version of the Shadow 5000 with improved cushioning and firm stability, and once again, the Nike Triax.

He also extols the virtue of the Nike Air Max 2, but apologizes that the store does not have my size in stock. At this point, the elusive Air Max 2 has become something of a quest, and I am determined to at least try it on before I buy. Sweetened by the store’s service, I promise to return if I go with another model.


Service                            A

Selection                          A

Presentation                       D

Product Knowledge                  A

Finally, I walk into the door of Super Runner’s Shop, which is something of a nirvana for runners in the area. The small, intimate store features a wide range of styles, but packs them all together in one small merchandising column. Stacked on top of each other are rows of running shoes, but it takes a few moments to determine which are the women’s shoes.

Quickly enough, I am rescued by a sales assistant who, hearing my story, promptly pulls the Air Max 2 Light – an even newer version of the Air Max 2 – from the wall. He declares it perfect for my needs, and once I try it on, I am apt to agree.

Still, I ask for some more choices, and am given a couple of other pairs to try out. I’m even encouraged to take the shoe for a spin around the block, a fairly trusting offer considering the reputation of New York.

We chat some more about running in the city, and about how to train for long distance goals like the marathon. I like the club feeling of the store, and the way the Air Max Light – which still run a hefty $130 – feel on my feet. Declaring my day a success, I pay for the shoes, and head out for an evening run, depositing my old sneakers in the nearest trash bin.


Self-defence against E-mail overload: spam dam

Each day when I check my E-mail, it’s the usual stuff: a pile of business correspondence, a couple of notes from my friends in the United States, a handful of postings from several mailing lists I belong to and some mail with headings such as “Hot Babes Waiting 4 U!!” or “Make Money FAST While You SLEEP!”

I open the messages. One reads: “Are you having trouble meeting women? Visit our site for all you can handle!” Another: “The GREAT marketing opportunity listed below is NO SCAM and is TOTALLY LEGAL!”

Yeesh. Almost everyone on-line now gets this stuff: florid E-mail offering a bouquet of products — mostly pornography and thinly veiled ponzi schemes. Technically, it’s called unsolicited commercial E-mail. But for years, netizens who hate the stuff have nicknamed it spam, in honour of the world’s only truly onomatopoeic luncheon meat.

Back in the early days of the Internet, this was only a minor annoyance.

If you were very unlucky, you’d get one or two pieces of spam a month. But now, it’s winding up to epidemic proportions. Moderate to heavy Net users, like myself, can receive up to 20 of these messages a day, making up anywhere from 5 to 20 per cent of their mail.

“I think I get around 10 or 15 a day myself,” said K. K. Campbell, editor of the on-line magazine www.theconvergence.com , based in Toronto. “And there’s probably more, because I’ve got filters that knock most of them out before I see them.”

Outside of the personal hassle of deleting the stuff, spam is beginning to wreak financial and logistical havoc at many Internet service providers. Anti-spam activist and new-media consultant Jim Youll says major on-line services are regularly subjected to huge bursts of spam — up to 50,000 at a time — that occasionally knock out parts of their central computers known as servers.

“It’s getting out of control,” Youll said.

“The cost of spam is enormous,” said Corey Snow, a member of the Coalition Against Commercial Unsolicited Email. “There are Net service providers who have full-time staff now that do nothing but clean spam out of their system.”

The big danger of spam is that it reverses the ordinary financial logic of marketing. Normally, as with direct-mail advertising, the advertiser pays the cost of sending you the message. But with spam, it’s the recipient who ultimately pays the cost of the message. Your service provider pays to ferry it through its servers, which places a demand on capacity, and you pay your provider for the service.

Observers such as Snow are worried that, unchecked, spam will continue to grow to become not just a major personal nuisance, but a serious congestion problem for the Net. He points to how spam has almost completely overwhelmed Usenet newsgroups — the Net’s open-forum bulletin boards — making them all but useless.

“You can look at Usenet and see what your E-mail is going to look like in a few years if this stuff isn’t stopped,” Snow said.

Luckily, there are ways to stop it — or at the very least ignore it.

Here’s a sampling of the top strategies, collected from the Net’s main spam-fighters:

Filter out spam so you never see it.

The simplest antispam device is to use two E-mail addresses. One account remains private; you use it solely for communicating with people you know. That way, the address will never fall into a spammer’s hands. The other account is made public; you’ll use it for chatting or posting or filling out forms on publicly visible World Wide Web sites. You never bother checking this account’s E-mail, because it’ll be the one that receives nothing but spam.

Alternatively, you can get a single address, akin to a post-office box, from a forwarding service such as www.bigfoot.com (which is free) or www.netaddress.com (which is cheap). They have sophisticated filters to strip out spam before sending it along to you.

It’s also worth asking your Internet service provider (the company into which you dial to gain Internet access) if it has its own program for filtering spam. Many service providers do, and they can set the program up to work for you.

Or, with a bit of technical knowledge, you can set the filters in your E-mail program to automatically trash spam based on keywords that appear in the text of the junk message. This isn’t hard to do: most spam contains words such as “XXX,” “free offer” or “make money fast.” Filters can easily recognize this stuff. A good tutorial on making filters can be found at www.exposure-usa.com/email/spam.html.

Don’t inadvertently give spammers your E-mail address.

If you belong to a major on-line service such as CompuServe or America Online, get yourself removed from its members directory. This is a favourite place for spammers to collect addresses.

Another way spammers operate is by secretly harvesting the E-mail address from your browser software as you move from Web page to Web page. So, put a fake address in your browser; it won’t affect your browser’s performance. You can usually find the address in your browser’s Preferences menu.

Another defence tactic is to ask whether your Internet service provider is running an “ident demon” program, which also gives your identity away to Web sites. If it does, make your objection known. (You can check by visiting the site at ident.junkbusters.com ; it’ll tell you whether you’re vulnerable.)

Fight back — if you’re feeling adventurous.

Never respond positively to spam; as with annoying pets and certain children, it just encourages them.

If you want have fun doing some detective work, figure out who sent the spam and complain to his or her Internet service provider. Often, you can get the account shut down.

However, it isn’t always easy to figure out where the spam actually came from because spammers often use fake addresses. A good and simple tutorial on deciphering headers (the convoluted address notes that come with Internet E-mail messages) can be found at www.vix.com/spam/howtocomplain.html .

If the spam has been sent from a free E-mail post office such as hotmail.com , rocketmail.com or juno.com , it’s easy to nip it in the bud. These services have strict rules against their members sending spam. Send a complaint and a copy of the spam to the postmaster at the service (for example, to [email protected] ).

If you want to use the Cadillac of antispam devices, download the program Spam Hater, available for a free trial from PC World magazine’s on-line software library at www.pcworld.com (under the Internet & Comm section). Working in tandem with your E-mail software, Spam Haternot only recognizes hundreds of different spammers and filters out their mail, but it automatically traces the spammer’s own computer mailbox and mails back a scathing message. Not for the weak-willed.

Email appeals that work

Do those gimmicky fundraising emails that offer small-dollar donors a chance to have dinner with the president or watch a debate with the vice presidential nominee really work? How about the late pleas for campaign dollars aimed at scaring supporters into forking over additional cash?

After a cycle of watching emails from the presidential campaigns, party committees and outside groups flood our inboxes, we decided to take a closer look at what worked and what didn’t when it came to email in 2012.

We asked a handful of political marketing experts to evaluate five emails that represented some of the most common appeals of this cycle; we practically guarantee you’ve seen a bunch just like them in your own inbox over the past few months. Below, our experts weigh in on which elements worked and how you can apply the lessons when structuring your own email appeals.

1 Subject: Some grub with POTUS?

Julie Germany, vice president digital strategy, DCI Group

Even though the email copy is incredibly short, this comes across as a powerful email. There is a simple call to action. It’s written the way a normal person would talk (except for all the bolding and underlining), and it asks you to only care about one thing–having dinner with the president.

Matthew Dybwad, founder and partner, CRAFT Media/Digital

A great example of a quick and to-the-point email: it hits the important points, conveys an important message of opportunity, has action links and doesn’t make the reader wade through an ocean of rhetoric or posturing to consume and understand the content. Raw, undistilled value proposition meets action opportunity. Win.

One other thing to note: Obama emails like this one push the fine print (and it is very fine) and disclaimers way down the page–out of what would be “above the fold” in any email client. It keeps the experience uncluttered and clean. Hiding content at the end of very long pages used to be considered black hat from an SE0 standpoint, though clearly the campaign got away with it here.

Scott Dworkin, founder and CEO, Bulldog Finance Group

The subject line is straight and to the point. I love it. This is a very direct ask, as it has three links in it going to the same page. The possibility of a dinner with POTUS is very cool. Plus, it’s a short read, so it makes it easy for someone to see what it’s all about.

Taryn Rosenkranz, founder, New Blue Interactive

This is a new tactic this year. But because it’s Obama’s campaign, people are still responding. The contests work great for increasing response; who doesn’t like a chance to win something–especially a chance to dine with the president? The folksy language is supposed to help make up for the fact it’s from an entity instead of a person.

Peter Pasi, executive vice president, eMotive

The subject line asks a question and states a pretty simple, self-explanatory offer. It’s a small amount of money and basically gives donors a reason to give beyond helping the campaign.

2 Subject: I’ll be damned

Julie Germany This is a long advocacy email. I think the writer experienced a problem that many advocacy and communications emails have: the communications team wants you to fit a dozen talking points into one email text. This could really be two or three emails.

Matthew Dybwad Love the subject line; it begs to be read and is edgy enough to grab attention–even from people who know Messina is another Obama sender. I like the first name and dashes as a salutation. It’s much more email colloquial, as is the rest of the message. Obama’s emails are frequently written in a conversational voice that mirrors how friends and colleagues actually converse with one another over email. When was the last time you sent your buddy an email and started it “Dear Friend”?

The message is also likely personalized for a supporter who hasn’t donated, another thing the Obama campaign did well–actually using the data to intelligently correspond with their contacts. The script itself is a good example of the classic formula: bombshell, problem, solution, ask, repeat.

I’m also a fan of the larger font. It’s easier to read and looks more like an email you’d get from a friend.

Scott Dworkin Excellent subject line–very straight and to the point. There is substance in every sentence, which makes it a must-read. The layout makes you want to keep on reading, with two different separations between paragraphs with colons–pretty good setup.

Taryn Rosenkranz Again, the Obama team is being informal to feel more personal and relate to you as the reader. Here is my nickname. We outraised them. It’s you and me against them.

Peter Pasi This email is pretty straightforward. Messina’s subject line definitely begs you to open the email, and the body reinforces the “people-powered” narrative the Obama campaign was pushing. It also subtly guilts the donor by pointing out they aren’t part of this million-person movement.

3 Subject: Scary truth

Julie Germany This could be a powerful email, but the lack of personalization in 2012 feels very problematic. We currently exist in a digital era in which the right database and email management tools make personalization, even if it’s just using the recipient’s first name in the greeting, very easy. It’s slightly on the long side, but I tended to appreciate the narrative-building in this email more.

Matthew Dybwad The subject line is trying to be catchy, but scary truth has already become a cliche. One mantra we have here is engineering subject lines that instill a fear of missing out by recipients: if you don’t read this, you won’t know something important, which will put you at a disadvantage. This subject line misses that mark.

The type is too small; readability is compromised. The highlighted title does a good job of drawing the eye though, and the use of bold and italics is probably right at the line where enough meets too much.

I’m also not against leaving out a first name in the salutation, but going with “Friend” can be a spamtrigger.

Scott Dworkin This is a great subject line. I like how the second word is in lower case, so it looks like it’s not a blast email. I don’t like how it was released on a Saturday morning. There are also two separate links and asks, which I don’t recommend. The layout is good, but I think the content is more sporadic and less direct.

Taryn Rosenkranz This one uses an oldie but a goodie. Everyone is a sucker for a poll, especially one with good news. Also super popular is to use one-word subject lines that are vague. Again, for this and a few others, I’m surprised I don’t see a deadline included. Typically that boosts response.

Peter Pasi This is a great, captivating subject line. The email highlights a 24-day deadline and asks for a modest contribution to help EMILY’s List deliver more womens’ votes for President Obama. It also highlights the organization’s long history of working on this issue and therefore lends credibility to the ask.

4 Subject: Victory is in Sight

Julie Germany This is probably the most traditional of the emails. Everything from the subject line to the text reminds me of 2008. It’s a basic, old-fashioned email.

Matthew Dybwad This is another email where the engagement link is at the very end. The writing is good and it builds momentum well–thanking the supporter and building to the moment of victory, keeping up a good pace and drawing the reader into and through the piece.

Scott Dworkin I am not sure why “sight” is capitalized in the subject line, and I don’t like how “is” is followed by “in”. The content of this is choppy at best. There are different, random numbers, but it doesn’t really show why I should care. The ask is way too low in the email, and there is no direct ask for a specific amount. They set the bar too low by saying $250 or less is the norm.

Taryn Rosenkranz Republicans and Democrats differ the most when it comes to length. Romney used voter messaging rather than fundraising language. There is no transaction to give but party loyalty.

Peter Pasi This email is well-written but sounds more like a speech than an ask for money. It also doesn’t paint the opponent as a real enemy or a force to be reckoned with. It is aspirational but lacks urgency.

5 Subject: We will recover

Julie Germany When I read this, my mind lost track after the third paragraph. Putting the call to action–donating–all the way at the bottom of the email can be really tricky if I’m your target audience. My eyes wander if you don’t get to the point, and I delete the email before you can tell me what you want me to do.

Matthew Dybwad I like the layout here, and I think including the brand as an image is important for consistency, even if plain text emails are also on the schedule. This is something Romney did better than Obama. The script is well written, but the “offer” is pure rhetoric, as opposed to something a supporter could actually latch onto. Written as a post-debate follow up, it’s meant to inspire more support but lacks the personality, humor and genuine quality that the Obama scripts consistently nailed.

As is popular with many R-side email scripts, the action links come at the very bottom. This is a mistake. Readers need to be able to know what the email is about and how to act on it within the first two-to-three sentences. Why make the reader read until the very end before asking them to act? In the information economy, every second counts and this squanders opportunity.

Scott Dworkin Good subject line–good subject to have it on as well. But the email is choppy and a bit all over the place. I like how they have the header in this; it’s not always good to strip out all images. But again, the ask is at the end of the email and fails to specify an amount.

Taryn Rosenkranz The most notable thing about this email is it’s so long. The trend is to keep them short and cut to the chase. The subject line was great because it got me to want to open it. Subject lines should never give away the punch line, and this one doesn’t.

Peter Pasi Again, this email does a good job of hitting the talking points, but effective direct response is conversational and emotional. As a conservative, I understand what they are saying, but I think the campaign needs to more clearly lay out the case for why a donation right now will help them win.

Takeaways for your campaign

Julie Germany This election cycle saw the rise of big data in digital politics, especially with email. Personalizing the issue and context just enough to not seem creepy, and constantly monitoring what did and did not work, helped political campaigns evolve the medium and master the art of email fundraising solicitations.

Matthew Dybwad I don’t know that there are any new, startling revelations; optimizing the performance of email continues to be a testing and learning process for every campaign individually, with different strategies paying off depending on audience makeup. Speaking broadly as to the appeal and direction of the email communication from campaigns in general though, I think we’re seeing trends toward more colloquial language, shorter, more focused email scripts with much clearer calls to action and more creative offers and benefits being used to entice people to engage. These are all positive trends that make these emails easier to read and more attractive to audiences, especially the growing millennial generation, which now equals the size of the boomer generation. Millennials were raised on email, expect real dialogue and aren’t oriented to the direct mail approach of campaigns past.

Scott Dworkin Email blasts have been taken to a new level this cycle. Some campaigns even send out multiple ones daily. I have seen it to be most successful for re-solicits and pushing in outstanding pledges when it comes to contributions.

Still, nothing beats person-to-person interactions. A phone call and a handshake will always win no matter what technological advances are made via email.

Taryn Rosenkranz Many suspected that email fundraising would have lost its luster this cycle but it hasn’t. Though, that doesn’t mean it has gotten easier. In fact, the competition is getting fiercer and harder. Those who were successful at it got that they had to send more emails and be first on the scene–creating the “I just left the stage” moments you see at the national level post-debates and conventions. But now you are seeing this kind of message after events, even at the congressional level.

People quickly figured out that shorter is -141″ better. Emails became less about the “message” than about the transaction. Why do I need to give and why right now–in as few words as possible. The old-fashioned elevator pitch in tweet-size characters has become more of the norm for an email. And those who were able to do these “express” accounts or “quick give” buttons in emails really did better than their counterparts. Those who adapted their program to fit the needs of mobile users saw the best results.

Lastly, the gloves are off on volume; it’s totally acceptable to send three emails in the same day–something unheard before Obama ’08.

Peter Pasi The EMILY’s List and Democrat emails have compelling subject lines. If you received those in your inbox, you’d want to read them. Unfortunately, the Romney emails have subject lines which are aspirational but don’t encourage action.

I believe all successful fundraising appeals have four things in common: 1) A statement of a challenge, which can be partially solved by the recipient’s donation; 2) An enemy or “devil” that needs to be defeated; 3) A compelling story which succinctly explains the challenge and the donor’s role in addressing it; 4) A deadline by which a prospective donor must respond.

Online Invicta watches review to get the best designs of Invicta watches

Back in the olden days, the females didn’t wear time pieces on their dainty little wrists. Apart from the chain styles so many of individuals were wore their time prices as brooches, pendants and also as rings. Even some women were their watches as the necklaces. But in these modern days the females likes to wear the time pieces ne way that is on their wrists. Luckily now you can get a plenty of stylish options in the Invicta time piece collection. The stylish women‘s watches ranging from luxurious, durable sports watches to the dress watches, this allow any women to showcase her person style.

Unique collections of Invicta women’s watches

There is wide range of various styles of time pieces and after you are familiarized with each and every broad category, you selecting the right types of watch will be very easy. If in case you are on the market for buying the watches for women for yourself or for your dear ones then you can go with cheap Invicta watches. This particular brand is very popular to providing the unique and attractive watches for women at very attractive prices. You can get luxurious and also casual wear watches from the Invicta watch collections.

The online websites also offers these types of watches to buy from the online shops. Even you can also read the online invicta watches review by visiting the websites that offers the online reviews to get valuable info regarding the particular models of the Invicta watches. These types of reviews offer you with you the feedbacks from the previous buyers of these watches. So you can consider these types of reviews and feedbacks to decide your particular models of the Invicta watches that are matches with your style, personality and also requirements.

The 8926 Invicta time pieces are available in a wide array of designs and colors, so you can you can provide the color a thought as well as materials and other factors. The dress watches and the great looking party wear watches can be distinguished by their elegant, classic designs, gold, leather, stainless steel and also the titanium wrist straps.

 The jewelry watches

Really these types of time pieces are the cream of the crop. Usually these types of time pieces are also called as the mechanical time pieces since these are operates by using the hand crafted mechanical mechanisms in order to measure the time not like the widely used electronic quartz mechanisms. This type of time piece is really a fantastic investment. Generally these types of jewelry time pieces are made with the top quality and also finest materials and also consist of a wide array of unique styles. However before buying the women’s watches, you can read the Invicta watches review to choose the  right models of watches.

The fine time piece makers and designers Invicta watch group are responsible for producing the top quality jewelry style time pieces that are often on the cutting edge in terms of designs and styles , so you can easily find something contemporary and very fresh to something more subdued and classic deigns of watches.

The secret to high email open rates

How long did it take you to write your last fundraising email? Whatever the answer is, some experts say you should expect to Jp spend the equivalent amount of time writing your email’s subject line.

Devoting so much time to a subject line sounds strange. In a given day, you probably send at least 50 emails and I’m betting you don’t think twice about the subject; line. But if you take the same approach to a fundraising email don’t be surprised if your results suffer.

A good subject line can be the difference between 10: percent of subscribers reading your email and 25 percent. In the world of email fundraising, that’s huge. It can translate into thousands of dollars in contributions.

Knowing how to consistently maximize the potential of your email marketing campaigns by writing powerful subject i lines will pay big dividends. Below are two categories of advice. First, five best practices that apply no matter what the situation. And then six proven strategies that will streamline the process of writing your email subject lines and increase those open rates.

  1. Write your subject line first.

You might have to change your subject line later, but the subject will drive the tone of the email. By starting with the subject line, you’ll ensure it isn’t misleading. Deceptive subject lines often result in high spam complaints and opt-outs.

  1. Keep it under 50 characters

Once your subject line gets longer than this, many email clients (Yahoo is one) will truncate your subject. In general, pithy subject lines that range between two and four words give readers a reason to open your email and don’t bog them down with verbiage.

  1. Find inspiration from like minds.

Subscribe to as many email lists as possible to see what other campaigns and organizations are doing. Another great way to spur your thought process is to scan websites like Digg.com. Digg.com allows readers to vote on news articles they find interesting. Oftentimes, the articles that appear on the front page have compelling headlines and one of them may spark an idea.

  1. Avoid “spammy” keywords and special characters.

Words and phrases that have been associated with spam can cripple the deliverability of your email. Common words to avoid include: breaking, friend, free, reminder, hot, and click, just to name a few. Special characters that can trigger spam blocks include exclamation points (!), the plus symbol (+), and the ampersand.

  1. Test. Test. Test.

Many email marketing services offer the ability to easily AJB test your subject line. Find a service that has this functionality and use it to tailor the perfect subject line to your audience.

If you’re stuck with an email marketing service that does not offer A|B testing, try segmenting your email list. Randomly select 20 percent of your list. Split that into two, and then test two subject lines. After four hours, use the subject line with the highest open rate for the email to the remainder of your email list.

Six Proven Strategies

Some email subject lines are descriptive of the email content. Others use proven techniques that have resulted in high open rates in the past. The best approach is to combine one or two proven strategies with a short description of the content of your email.

1. Numbers and Counts

The subhead of this section is a perfect example. People don’t read online content, they scan it. Numbered lists, bullet points, and holding all appeal to the innate organization of how online readers prefer content. Example: “4 Facts About Wisconsin Union Protests”

2. Urgency

The half-life of an email is remarkably fast, which is why this strategy is popular with retailers who often send emails daily. If a reader believes they can wait to read your email, it’s unlikely they will return at a later time. Enticing readers with a realistic reason to immediately act is a proven method for higher email open rates.

Example: “Happening Now”

3. Ask a Question

Remember when your teacher would tell you that there are no stupid questions? The key here is to capture the question many are curious about, and then let readers know you intend to answer it in your email.

Example: “Dick Lugar or Richard Mourdock?”

4. Localization

If your email is geo-targeted to a specific city or state, use the name of the location in the subject line. Most are proud of their city or state and are going to want to know why it’s being mentioned.

Example: “Enraging Video from Michigan”

5. Personalization

Many email marketing services allow you to append first names and other data to an individual’s email address. If you want your email to stand out, use a detail about them–their first name or their total donation amount to your organization–as a way to peak their interest. Example: “John, will you stand with Indiana or Obama?”


The best strategy to make an email successful is to focus on an ongoing event, breaking news, or a deadline. Many federal campaigns use the end of the Federal Election Commission’s fundraising quarters and the corresponding reporting structure as a compelling way to ask their supporters to contribute. Many other organizations time their email campaigns around major legislative news. Example: “President Obama signs TARP bailout”

Here’s the bottom line: when writing your next email, make sure a good amount of thought goes into choosing the subject line. The tips and proven strategies above can help navigate that email to your reader’s inbox and ensure higher email open rates. In a world of cluttered email accounts, your email subject needs to stand out to enable your message to penetrate the audience. Success means recruiting more volunteers, gaining additional supporters, and increasing the number of contributors to your cause or campaign.

Waist Trainer – How It Makes You Look Curvy?

A waist trainer is an outfit that actually squeezes your waist and moves around the weight in the middle part of your body. Women often wear it under their dresses to have a sleeker and slimmer appearance, achieving the much appreciated hourglass figure that women love to flaunt. Over the years, these have been made from varied materials such as whale bone. These days, however, they are typically made out of fibers and plastics. For women who want to achieve a figure to die for, cinchers are must-haves. These can make you look curvy in various ways.

Gives you slimmer waistline

First of all, these make your waistline look slimmer and smaller as compared to the rest of your body, especially the bust region. Flat tummy and a slim waistline are the stuff of perfect figure dreams for women and can give you just the body shape that you desire. Men typically like their women to have a curvaceous body with an hour glass figure comprising of a slimmer waistline. Cinchers tuck in the additional fat in the stomach and push the tummy in, keeping the additional fat restricted within a strict frame. These sexy outfits help make the waist look slender and hide the bulge of the stomach.

Helps lift your curves

A waist training corset can also aid you by lifting your derriere and curves. It can sculpt your figure in the perfect manner, thus providing you body with an hour glass appearance. With constant usage over a long time, it can correct your postural defects and make a difference in the way that you are looked at. It can change the shape of your body permanently and make your flesh adapt itself to a strict frame.

Makes great undergarment

These are worn beneath dresses and comprise of a band or belt which can be tightened to achieve the compression that is desired. With the right types of trimmings, like lace or garters, you can even have them serve you as sensual underwear. Click here to learn more about waist trainers.

Provides a lot of control

These outfits also offer a lot of control to the waist, abdomen and back regions and can be an ideal solution for all your shaping requirements. These types of outfits offer adequate support to the waist, abdomen and bust. Some of the cinchers in the market also come with various orthopedic features which provide support to the spine and also help improve the posture. These are generally constructed of tough fabrics like nylon or Lycra comprising of flexible ribs that are made of plastic or having metal stitched into it in order to make the outfit shapelier and perfect for the purpose of waist compression. These can help in making the waist appear slimmer and the tummy flatter in appearance. Cinchers can help shape the body by reducing the bulges and improving your overall posture. These days, there are cinchers constructed out of various materials like Lycra, nylon, spandex and polyester. Whatever cincher that you choose, you need to make sure that it does not hinder your breathing or restrict your comfortable movements.

Making the most of your email marketing campaign

Close to half of all email users share political emails with their friends and family over the course of an election cycle. That’s according to a 2008 study by the Pew Research Center. So there’s no doubt that email has a definite place in your political marketing strategy. Success in using the medium, however, is based upon a full understanding of its nuances.

Before you send an email or build a landing page make sure your goals are crystal clear. Every element should be concise, motivating and easy to understand. Realize that if you’re talking at me and not with me, I will have little incentive to engage in what essentially is a one-sided conversation.

I recently had the chance to review an email and associated landing page for a candidate’s database-building effort. (The experience provided some motivation for penning this article.) After reading through the email and the content of the landing page, I realized that I still had absolutely no idea what this candidate was asking me to do, or why. The email was far too text-heavy and it was followed by an equally confusing landing page that asked me to just “Join the Campaign.” Essentially, I had no idea what I’d be signing up for once I hit submit. If I have no idea why you want my information, I’m surely not going to give it you. This campaign wasn’t a success, but there are some lessons here. A few things to remember when you’re planning an email campaign:

First, an email is not a web page. When someone receives your email you have about three seconds to grab their attention and detail your intentions. It’s why accuracy of formatting cannot be over-emphasized.

When you look at a computer screen, the area you see without touching your mouse to scroll down is real estate we call “above the fold.” Realize that what a recipient immediately sees upon opening your email is your make-it-or-hreak-it moment. So from a design and technology perspective, be sure that your prime point is front and center.

Next, get a handle on email design. There are plenty of reasons to not design an email message ay one large image with no text, but one of the most important is the fact that any recipient can alter their personal settings to not display images. Given that 87 percent of smartphone owners access: the Internet or email on their phone, understanding how your message will display on a web-enabled device is also critical.

When you’re hiring an artist to design the email, keep in mind that just because they have experience in website design doesn’t mean they understand email HTML. So be specific and inquire about whether they have experience with email design.

Third, take the time to understand analytics and tracking. As concepts, these arc often confusing. Your email is sent through a proprietary server that uses its own proprietary tracking software. It is not meant to communicate with any other technology. An open and a click is read by the email server using code unique to that particular platform. The confusion often arises when statistics from one platform are I matched against that of another.

Each platform is speaking its own language and communicating only with code it can read. So statistics from one server’s platform will never correspond to that of another. Too often, people place tags or shortcuts onto email links thinking it will generate accurate data on clicks and opens. This is not the case. A tag or unique link may grab web-based action, but it will never relate back to a click or an open in the actual deployed email. It’s like trying to use a radio station’s information to pick up viewership statistics for a TV channel.

Similarly, many people try to match up email tracking with Google Analytics. The trouble there is that Analytics reads browser-originated activity to a web page. At no time does an email click go directly to the browser. It goes to the email platform server where the click is recorded and then redirected to the destination webpage. Since the incoming web traffic never originates from a browser source, it cannot be detected as a web page visit by Google Analytics.

Finally, don’t get caught in the spam filter. It seems like IPs change their spam filter rules daily, but there are a few things it is always a good idea to avoid: large images, large fonts and variable font colors. You should also avoid using more than 10 links, and steer clear of complicated coding. All are plausible reasons for your email to be blocked by the IP or to head straight into a recipient’s junk folder.

There are plenty of online spam checkers out there, including one called Spam Assassin. It allows you to run your message through the program to see if red flags pop up so you can make adjustments before the message is sent out.

Here’s a phrase most of us have probably heard: We make our own opportunities. When it comes to your email marketing strategy, the more accurate phrase is this: Be prepared to capitalize on opportunities as they present themselves. Taking the time now to understand what works and what doesn’t will enable you to market fearlessly via email and achieve greater overall results.

Running an email campaign

So how should you go about conducting an email campaign? First, decide who you want to run it. You have three basic choices: you can do it yourself, license the technology through an application service provider (ASP) agreement, or outsource the campaign completely.

If you follow the DIY approach, you need to ensure you have both the IT and marketing staff who can come together to send out campaigns. This is typically reserved for either very small companies that have modest marketing needs, or very large ones with the staff and deep pockets to maintain their own email team.

If using an ASP, you rent the software but needs an understanding of how to manage the campaign and send it out. For full-blown outsourcing, an email partner will devise a strategy, integrate it with other online and offline campaigns if necessary, design the HTML, write the copy, send out the emails, manage the responses, and give analysis and feedback on the campaign.

Complete outsourcing is useful for large companies, which typically argue that they don’t want to be diverted from their core business, and those just starting out in email marketing, which want to learn how a campaign should be conducted.

Finding a partner

How should these companies find an email partner? First, know your campaign. Who are you targeting? What are your goals? Are you acquiring customers or retaining them?

Once you understand your campaign, E-mail Vision’s David Hughes says the next step is to research partners. You can get information from the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), trade fairs and the trade press to see who’s picking up and who’s losing accounts. The next step is to draw up a shortlist and to send them a short, focused brief of your campaign.

Ask them to come back with ideas, not just a costing,” says Hughes. “If you’ll be sending out 100,000 emails a month, that’s a commodity market now and everyone will be offering around the same price. That’s not a big clue as to who to work with.”

He advises asking about how to manage the product and how they would add value in terms of thinking, strategy and hand-holding. Because many companies can offer similar levels of technology and cost, service becomes the key differentiator — which should show up in the quality of the brief. Are they offering the bare bones of what you asked? Are they offering support? Are they giving you alternative suggestions?

“Most clients won’t know the right, wrong or different ways of doing a campaign,” says Hughes. “It’s the role of the supplier to hold the client’s hand and guide them through what can be quite a daunting process if they haven’t used the medium before.”

Email marketing glossary


Open (view) rate: The number of people who opened the message. Seen as a less reliable figure, as an opened email doesn’t necessarily mean it has been read.

Click-through rate (CTR): The number of people who clicked through to your site. An individual CTR tells you the number of people who clicked on an embedded URL in your email message and were sent through to your site. An overall CTR tells you the number of clicks in relation to the total messages sent.

Conversion rate: Measures the success of your call to action: a purchase or a requested action.

Acquisition rate: The number of recipients of your email who became new paying customers. Can be used to tell you the quality of your list, offer and testing methods.

Bounce rate: How many names on your list bounced back because they were undelivered (hard bounce) or the recipient’s server was too full or too busy (soft bounce). Needs to be monitored to ensure the quality of your list.

Unsubscribe rate: The number of people who received your email but clicked the Unsubscribe link. Tracking this can help you refine your message, frequency and offer.


ROI: How much your campaign cost against how much you invested in it.

Cost per sale: How much it cost to secure a sale. Divide total cost of campaign by total number of sales.

Cost per response: How much each response cost. Divide total cost of campaign by number of responses.

Cost per message: How much each message cost to create and send. Divide total cost of campaign by number of messages sent.

Total revenue: How much revenue your campaign generated. Multiply the number of customers by the revenue generated per customer.

Recency, frequency and monetary value (RFM): Analysis technique that determines the customers most likely to purchase or frequent your site based on their past ordering history. Determined in part by how recently they ordered, how often they order and how much.