Customer base analysis with recurrent neural networks

Jan Valendin, Thomas Reutterer, Michael Platzer, Klaudius Kalcher

Publikation: Wissenschaftliche FachzeitschriftOriginalbeitrag in FachzeitschriftBegutachtung


One of the primary goals that researchers look to achieve through customer base analysis is to leverage historical records of individual customer transactions and related context factors to forecast future behavior, and to link these forecasts with actionable characteristics of individuals, managerially significant customer sub-groups, and entire cohorts. This paper presents a new approach that helps firms leverage the automatic feature extraction capabilities of a specific type of deep learning models when applied to customer transaction histories in non-contractual business settings (i.e., when the time at which a customer becomes inactive is unobserved by the firm). We show how the proposed deep learning model improves on established models both in terms of individual-level accuracy and overall cohort-level bias. It also helps managers in capturing seasonal trends and other forms of purchase dynamics that are important to detect in a timely manner for the purpose of proactive customer-base management. We demonstrate the model performance in eight empirical real-life settings which vary broadly in transaction frequency, purchase (ir)regularity, customer attrition, availability of contextual information, seasonal variance, and cohort size. We showcase the flexibility of the approach and how the model further benefits from taking into account static (e.g., socio-economic variables, demographics) and dynamic context factors (e.g., weather, holiday seasons, marketing appeals). We make an open-source reference implementation of the newly developed method available at
Seiten (von - bis)988-1018
FachzeitschriftInternational Journal of Research in Marketing
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 2022

Österreichische Systematik der Wissenschaftszweige (ÖFOS)

  • 502019 Marketing
  • 502052 Betriebswirtschaftslehre
  • 502
  • 502020 Marktforschung