Great Example of Progressive Profiling from the Dave Matthews Band

Looking to do progressive profiling on your email subscribers? Here’s a good real-world example of it, along with some tips to make it even better.

Definition (courtesy of Progressive Profiling is a technique for gradually building up a profile of your customers each time they interact with your product. It allows you to keep questionnaires and forms short and to the point, but still build up a fantastic picture of each of your customers over time.

My brother is a huge fan of the Dave Matthews Band (DMB). So, in late November 2021 I visited the DMB online store and got him a few little Christmas gifts. My big gift to him was a DMB show, the two of us, my treat. But the 2022 tour schedule wasn’t out yet, so I signed up for email and text messages from DMB to keep on top of that.

I got a text message from DMB the other day that delighted me! It didn’t include the 2022 tour dates, but it did inspire me to write this blog post. It was a simple message that said “Dave Matthews Band: We’re curious… what month were you born in? Reply with the full month name (January, February, etc)” – you can see the screenshot of the conversation below.

So why was I delighted? Three reasons.

#1: I love the idea of progressive profiling via text

As an email marketing professional, I think this is a great way to do progressive profiling. Could they have sent me an email to get this information? Yes.

But I think text is the better channel here. This is a quick, short-answer request. It’s information I surely know off the top of my head. For information requests of this nature, text is a better option; an email with this brief a request would be overkill.

Could they include this request in an email with other information? Yes, they could. But there’s a good chance that it would be overshadowed by the other content.

Also, as much as I hate to admit it, text message open rates are higher than email open rates. I rarely have any unread text messages, while my current number of unread email messages is approaching 600.

By using text and making it a stand-alone request, they get my full attention and focus on answering the question asked.

Which, as you can see, I did (“April”).

#2: I love clear instructions

They wanted the full name of my birthday month, and they gave examples to support this ask. They are trying to avoid having to do a lot of backend manipulation of the data to make it all consistent in the database.

Imagine if they had just asked for birth month, without any further direction. I’m sure some people would have responded with the full name of the month, like “April,” as they wanted.

But I can see so many other potential responses, like:

Could you clean up the data on the backend to be the full birth month? Yes. But it’s a whole lot easier to provide clear instructions to your audience, to minimize your backend work.

#3: Something to look forward to

This has to do with their response to my providing my birth month, which said: “Dave Matthews Band: Thanks! Be on the lookout for a special offer once your birth month rolls around.”

So now I have a reason to watch their communications to me in April to see what the offer is. I’m hoping it’s more than just a discount on merchandise. When I placed the original order, I got a “Live Trax” CD from a 1993 DMB concert for free. This was, by far, my brother’s favorite part of his DMB Christmas gifts (until we get to go the live concert, I hope!). It would be neat if the Birthday gift was a free concert download or CD that did not require a purchase. We’ll see; I’ll keep you posted.

Please give some well-earned applause to the DMB team for this effort. Nice job!

That said, I do have a few thoughts on what they might do and/or test in the future to boost response…

#1: Make this an ongoing text campaign, not a one-off

I would love to get another text like this next month, and the month after that, and the month after that, asking for a different piece of data that they could use to personalize communications with me. This would make it a true progressive profiling campaign. Some ideas:

  • Data on who I am buying merchandise for, which will tell them whether I’m more interested in receiving information on products in children’s, men’s, or women’s sizes (or all of these)
  • Information on who the DMB fan in my life is, so that they can use appropriate wording about whether I’m buying/following for myself, a family member (spouse, child, sibling, parent, cousin, other family), or a friend
  • Where I and/or my DMB fan friend/family, am located geographically, so they can make me aware of concerts and other DMB events in my and/or their local area
  • What my, or my DMB fan friend/family member’s, favorite DMB song and/or album is, because this is something I’m sure huge fans would love to share, and I can imagine some cool marketing that could be done with this information

#2: Personalize with my first name

Since late November, I’ve received 12 text messages and 19 email messages from DMB. Only two of these, both email messages, included my first name.

The email sign-ups on the main DMB site and the DMB store site only ask for email address, not any other information. The text sign-up only asks for mobile number, not any other information. So how were they able to personalize two of the messages I received?

I placed an order, which required me to provide my first name and a lot of other information. The two email messages I received that were personalized both had to do with my order.

I get that the system fulfilling orders and the system sending the promotional emails and text messages may not be the same, but there should be some sort of integration here to allow basic information to be shared. After all, I used the same email address for my order and for my email subscription. It would not be difficult to match up. I may even have been given the chance to opt-in for email communications during the order process (if not, that’s something DMB should fix right away, it’s a great way to grow your list with quality subscribers).  

I also can’t remember if a phone number was requested during the order process; if so, that would also be an easy way to match it to my text subscription. And if they aren’t doing it now (I can’t remember), people purchasing from the store should be offered the chance to opt-in for text messages, for the same reason mentioned above regarding email.   

#3: Tell me why you want my birth month when you make the ask

It would have been nice for DMB to tell me, upfront, how they were going to use my birth month. Right now, they aren’t telling me why they want my birth month until after I’ve already provided it.

Would leading with the reason boost response? It very well could. I imagine that hardcore DMB fans would provide this info without thinking twice, but for those who are aren’t quite so invested in the brand, the reason might drive more responses.

In conclusion

Kudos once again to the DMB marketing team for providing a good ‘do this’ example of progressive profiling. I look forward to getting more texts and emails from them in future – and I hope that you readers will apply some of the learnings and suggestions presented here to your own campaigns. When you do, be sure to let me know how it goes.

Be safe, stay well, peace,


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