Data moves to center stage

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Hastings VP of marketing, Kevin Ball, and its director of merchandising, Miea Levery
Hastings VP of marketing, Kevin Ball, and its director of merchandising, Miea Levery
One of Hastings' goals for the future is to “deliver relevant entertainment to customers without wasting marketing dollars,” says Ball. While the internal CRM system helped accom­plish this for a while, he explains, last year Hast­ings decided it “needed to go further to find out about customer likes and dislikes” in order to market to them even more efficiently.

For example, to promote the launch of the latest Grand Theft Auto video game, Hastings sent people who might be interested in the game an e-mail or direct mail piece with a link to a microsite in order to reserve a copy of the game. Information about an upcoming midnight release party was also included. Previously, Hastings would have marketed a new release such as this with a free-standing insert distributed in local Sunday newspapers.

Platform helps deliver relevance

One of the benefits of the new strategy is that it delivers relevant messages. “The more Hastings can tie the customer base to things that they enjoy, the more it creates Hastings advocates,” says Miea Levery, Hastings' director of merchandising.

For retailers with centralized customer data, “the next big shift they are starting to make is looking at marketing from the customers' view­point,” says Jay Henderson, director of retail seg­ment management at Unica.

One example is JCPenney, which uses its data warehouse, supplied by the Teradata campaign management platform, to determine a contact strategy for each of its customers. This includes how many contacts are appropriate as well as what the right mix of communications will be.

Higher value customers tend to be inundated with messages when the various divisions of a retail operation are separate, says Mark Swenson, principal consultant at Teradata Corp. JCPenney, however, can determine if it has already contacted a specific customer too many times and decide to not go there again.

The retailer also benefits from the ability to determine the total value of customers and where its opportunities for growth are, he continues.

“JCPenney is taking advantage of the platform more than most retailers,” Swenson says.

For Hastings, time is of the essence when it comes to multichannel marketing — after all, keep­ing up with what's new and what your customers want can be tough for retailers. “Hastings has to move quickly, that's what it's all about right now,” Ball says. Using the new system, he adds, “will give us guidance into how to move quicker.”

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