In mobile – and social for that matter – one question gets more attention than most: what is the value of a mobile/social subscriber?

For those uninformed, “subscriber value” is basically a way of saying, “How much money does my company make by adding this customer to my database?”

From a math perspective, the calculation is fairly complex. Many people assume that value results from how much money a customer spends in store after they receive a message. However, this view is too narrow. Not only do you have to account for how much money a customer spends on subsequent visits (they are subscribers after all), but also how much business a customer will refer (a lot of companies get at this particular calculation by looking at things like net promoter score). For those lingo-inclined, the term that describes this all-encompassing present, future and referred value is “customer lifetime value.”

There’s only one problem with concepts that get all the attention. Marketing is more than a one trick pony. So today, I want to spin this mobile subscriber question on its head and ask instead: What is the value of a mobile un-subscriber?

Here’s the idea: everyone spends all their time trying to acquire subscribers. But what about the other side of things? What about keeping those subscribers – what impact does that have?

To answer this question, I took a look at some email marketing rates from my own experience. I compared two types of email blasts: (1) a general blast sent to an entire database and (2) a targeted blast sorted by industry. The outcome?

The average unsubscribe rate for general blasts was 1.5%, with a high of 1.8%. The average for the targeted blasts was .5%, with a low of .3%. So, targeting an email blast represents a 1% improvement in the amount of people leaving a subscriber base.

OK, so maybe 1% doesn’t seem like too big of a deal, but let’s put some numbers to work. Let’s imagine a B2C company where each subscriber is worth $100. If the company has 10,000 subscribers, each targeted blast (instead of a general blast) hands the company $10,000.

Same thing goes for B2B. Take a company with a subscriber database of 10K leads. Historically, let’s say that company can convert 30% of its leads to marketing qualified leads, 20% of those to opportunities and 10% of those to closed deals with an average size of $1,000. 1% * 10K * .3 * .2 * .1 * $1K = $600, just like that.

Cool right? That’s the value of a mobile un-subscriber and, more importantly, the value of powerful targeting and segmentation tools.

Or, as I like to say, the value of Personalized Engagement.

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