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Q&A: Jason Roussos, president and COO, Living Direct

Jason Roussos, president and COO of Living Direct, discusses its decision to move away from full product catalogs. 

Q: How does your company gather and use data to improve your direct marketing? ?

A: We have real-time data that we mine and leverage for retargeting. Long-term, we want to use our Web and enterprise resource planning systems to provide shoppers with the most relevant and timely offers. The big thing is customer segmentation and leveraging and merging offline data points with online data points to better align e-mails based on who somebody is and what they’re interested in. We’ve started segmenting our e-mail list to create a preference center. We have targeted e-mails that offer cross-sells and upsells. ?

Q: How have you used social to generate leads and sales? ?

A: We’ve recently started pushing toward more time and resources for our Facebook interactions. It’s about branding and letting people know who we are. We can use it to build relationships with customers. The second phase of that process is building a community and content around product themes and lifestyles — allow our customers to post and share things with us and their friends. We’ve also had a lot of luck there with flash sales and daily deals. Twitter makes more sense for the younger demographic. We have an older demographic. With Twitter, we try to be more conservative and leverage it to monitor our brand reputation and enhance customer service. We don’t want to blast out messages and alienate people. ?

Q: Why is Living Direct moving away from catalogs??

A: Our catalogs were successful, but we felt we could use our budget in other areas to interact with customers. In terms of a full product catalog, we’re moving away from that. We still do targeted mailings based on lifetime value and time between orders. We try to identify customers in top tiers and customers trending toward attrition, so that we can send a lucrative offer. ?

Q: You’ve been with the company for a decade now. How have your customers evolved in that time??

A: Their expectations have changed. We’ve always had the philosophy to try to do the right thing for our customers. Now the customer has a higher expectation for interacting with a multichannel retailer. We’ve got to focus on what they want and then what we’re offering. We’ve got to under-promise and over-deliver. If not, we run the risk of things going public. Ten years ago, customers weren’t blogging and there was no Twitter.

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