By Katie Doyle, Co-Founder at Brass
Katie Doyle is a Co-Founder of Brass, a client of ours. Katie recently took part in a panel discussion at eTail West 2016, titled ‘The Soup to Nuts of Creating Personalized Experiences’. This article covers key points from that panel.
Being data-driven is about more than collecting heaps of metrics or constructing a fancy narrative from a line graph in your analytics. It’s about using data to fuel and inform progress towards specific goals. Similarly, starting a business requires one to have concrete, measurable objectives.
I’m the co-founder of Brass. Brass is a new online women’s clothing brand. We design, produce and sell high quality, beautiful basics. As we grow, we’re focused on acquiring high value customers and earning their loyalty through quality products and an exceptional experience. Such customers make more purchases both in the near and long term, and require less marketing to do so. In turn, this grows revenue and improves ROI. To accomplish our goal of acquiring and keeping high value customers, we’re leveraging our data. What follows are a few of the lessons we’ve learned about being data-driven from the get-go.
Use the Right Solution to Leverage Your Data
In order to be data-driven you, of course, need data. At Brass, we collect transactional, web, email and social data. Using multiple sources allows us to get a more holistic view of the customer and makes us less dependent on a single one.
Still, data alone isn’t enough. Indeed, as many marketers have found, more data frequently leads to more questions than answers. For this reason, we need a solution that helps transform our data into useful information. Ideally, the solution should also be able to optimize for the goals we’ve determined are important to our business.
Over the past couple of years, a plethora of tools, such as predictive analytics and recommender engines, have sprung up that are designed to help companies leverage their data. However, many of these come with limitations.
Too often, predictive analytics solutions tell you what you already know. They can predict the next step, but offer little insight beyond this. For example, such a solution might tell you that people who buy red dresses are likely to buy red scarfs. Therefore, it would make sense to offer red scarfs to people who buy red dresses. However, this information was probably already available in your CRM, ecommerce software or ESP. If you can get the same information from your descriptive analytics that you do from your predictive analytics, it defeats the purpose of having predictive analytics.
Similarly, many recommender engines and personalization systems suggest products that customers have already seen and ignored. After a certain point, these systems tend to produce diminishing returns. Offering the same product to the same customers indefinitely likely won’t lead to significantly more purchases in the long run. In contrast, the most powerful solutions yield counterintuitive insights and account for the entire customer journey.
At Brass, we’re using Coherent Path to optimize our customers’ journeys for loyalty and lifetime value. Coherent Path automatically maps out each journey and identifies which products intersect with them. In this way, the solution can optimize for various objectives by leading customers along a sequence of products that result in better margins, higher revenue, increased retention or more cross-sells. This ability to optimize for various objectives is invaluable since different objectives will be more or less important to us at different points during the growth of the business. Most importantly, it creates a great customer experience as customers are constantly discovering new products that they love.
Make Sure Your Goals Are Being Met and Working for You
It’s important to regularly measure progress towards your goals. If progress is not being made, this could be due to a number of reasons.
Insufficient or poor quality data could be one cause. Even the most cutting-edge analytics and optimization tools won’t work unless they have data to fuel them. Again, acquiring data from multiple sources can help mitigate this. Another reason that progress isn’t being made could be that the solution you’re using is insufficient for the task at hand due to the issues discussed above.
Beyond technology and data, you must also examine whether or not the goals themselves are actually useful for your business. For example, while it’s almost always the case that a growing company wants to acquire more customers, it may be more beneficial to introduce existing customers to new products through cross-sells. By getting customers to buy more and different types of products, you can increase revenue per customer and hedge against loss if one type of product falls out of favor with certain customers.
In order to be data driven you need more than data; you need clear goals. In order to make sense of data and optimize for goals, you need the right solution. However, technology and data alone aren’t enough. You must not only monitor progress towards your goals, but examine whether or not the objectives you’ve chosen are contributing to your business. A data-driven business is still a business after all.
We believe that women today are busy, on-the-go. With all there is to do in life, who’s got time to stand in front of the closet, wondering, “What in-all-hell do I wear today?”
We know you’ve got better things to do with your time than question your outfit. That’s why we created a simple collection of beautiful basics. No more wondering what to wear. So, go ahead. Get dressed and get on with your life. That’s Brass.