Bluefly CMO talks marketing style

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Brad Matson, CMO, Bluefly
Brad Matson, CMO, Bluefly

Turning to social media is one way that Matson addresses the challenge of consumers who have snapped their wallets shut over the past few years, in the face of an increasingly painful recession and rising unemployment. In 2009, Bluefly's revenues fell about 15% year over year to $81.2 million. It cut the marketing budget by about $6 million last year.

“We stepped back and cut off offline advertising and spent our energies on learning about social and working with the marketing programs,” Matson says.

Direct mail does not play an overwhelming role in his strategy, but Matson turns to it to reach new customers and what he calls “opt outs,” those whom opt out of receiving e-mail. It does two main mailings a year on a stylized broadsheet to tout spring and fall trends. Bluefly also sends postcards and once tinkered with a 32-page catalog. “It's mostly an activation device,” he says.

To keep the marketing function of Bluefly on task, Matson employs a number of agencies and vendors, along with a 17-person in-house staff that he praises throughout the interview. Firms include Umarketing, e-Dialog, Efficient Frontier and Coremetrics, as well as three PR firms: Attention, People's Revolution and ICR.

“We all spent years trying to build this perfect mousetrap. We figured that you would just go there, but that's never going to work,” he says. “What we have to do is know enough about you, so when you land there we can show you paths of shopping to get to where you want. It's a combination of personalization and customization.”

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