Three Takeaways from CRMC ’16

A fresh perspective on an annual event

Each year, CRMC brings a little something different. Whether it’s hearing from an emerging retailer, learning about new loyalty stats, or better understanding emerging trends (and challenges) in the retail space, year after year it proves to be a worthwhile event. This year’s CRMC wrapped up last week in Chicago, and among the highlights were co-presenting with our client ALDO and the privilege of learning from Seth Godin.

Post-conference, I thought I’d share three challenges and interesting takeaways in retail and beyond:

You have to start somewhere, so go big with the small stuff.
It’s true, the little things matter. And in retail (arguably in all marketing efforts), the little things are, well, enormous. Case in point: in Ian Richards’, VP CRM of ALDO, presentation, he shared his journey of building ALDO’s CRM program from the ground up. A monumental task, no doubt. Where did he start? He leveraged small data for big results, and focused on the customer data at his disposal while capitalizing on the moments in the customer journey to build a more complete, richer and ultimately much more impactful customer database and experience. This allowed him to create predictive models, more meaningful segmentation and personalized communications. The result? Email revenue is up 70% over the prior year. Now that’s big. Key takeaway: There’s value in small. Use it, learn from it, add to it, scale it. Don’t wait for big data or you’ll miss out on growth.

Deliver on your Brand Promise or someone else will.
Having a loyalty program used to be a differentiator. Now it’s more often table stakes, with programmatic loyalty programs becoming less valuable. Moving beyond transactional interactions and delivering on your brand promise through experiences that are more personal and provide an emotional connection is the path to richer customer engagement and brand advocacy. Sounds easy, but it’s not. Commit to spending more time figuring out how to create consistent customer identification tactics through relevant and valuable content vs breakage tactics on points you didn’t want to issue anyway. If you create value, customers will seek connection. Key takeaway: Customers are in control. Create experiences that deliver on your brand promise or you’ll lose them.

Find the artist in you.
Yes, I’m going to write about Seth Godin. Frankly, he’s an inspiring speaker and his presentation not only resonated with the audience, it’s also highly relevant in today’s ever-evolving world. In his fast-paced, slide-flipping, anecdotal-ending keynote, he urged us all to practice our art in this age of the New Normal. Don’t look for a map or expect a step-by-step set of instructions because, today, competence is overrated. Instead, find the passion to create something that connects and engages in new ways. He hits home that failure after failure is the only true path to success. After all, the person who invented the ship also invented the shipwreck. All of us are prepared, but none of us are ready. To be ready is to be sure, and artists are never sure. Our customers, clients, managers—and markets—are eager to be led. The question is, are we up for it? Key takeaway: Resist the status quo; fail fast and practice your art to drive innovation.