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The Sears brand began in the 1880s, and was built by sending catalogs to rural communities. By the late 1970s and early 1980s, the brand was already well established as a mass-market, convenient mail order and bricks-and-mortar giant.

“Over the past 30 years, we have been working towards developing the trend of personalization,” says Don Hamblen, CMO of Sears. He pointed out that one of its most iconic marketing vehicles had grown increasingly personalized over the years. The Sears Wishbook, a well-known holiday catalog for decades, now has an interactive edition online at  

In the last 10 years, Sears has explored a number of technologies to stay in front of the consumer.

“Over the last decade, Sears has made a deliberate shift from being mass, product-centric to being customer centric. Part of what enabled this change was a shift from mass media to more direct, addressable mediums to target the right customers with the right message at the right time,” Hamblen said.

Sears pioneered video in e-mail technology with its 2008 Heroes at Home campaign, which raised funds for more than 30,000 military families.

The company has also used customized e-circular, dynamic e-mails, next logical purchase and trigger-based analytics programs, as well as its new ShopYourWay loyalty program that gives rewards to cash and credit buyers.

In late 2004, Kmart announced it was buying Sears for $11 billion, in a deal that brought together two of the largest and oldest US retailers.


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