CMO Series: Meet Leland, VP of Marketing at Jonathan Adler on Acquiring and Engaging Customers - (Part 2)

November 04, 2015

What’s top of mind for Leland?
Building Customer Loyalty
Focus on your data and know who you are

In part two of our (2-part) interview with Leland Kass, we discussed what retailers need to be thinking about for the future in order to continue to promote customer loyalty. With the holiday season quickly approaching, marketers have to be incredibly tuned in to their customers and what is going to drive sales both in-store and online.

The data you have on your customers is invaluable; it’s truly your secret weapon. Marketers have to make sure that they’re aware of the number of people in their database, the number of available addresses, the number of valid email addresses, etc. Dirty data; for example, a customer tied to three different email addresses and multiple profiles; is not useful to you in any way and convolutes your marketing strategy even further.

Gathering and analyzing customer data to understand their purchasing behavior is critical but then you need to take a step above that. At Jonathan Adler, Leland’s team deploys a mix of email marketing, social marketing and direct mail. Through their deeper analysis of customer data, the team found that for the type of customer that they want to cultivate and the price level of Jonathan Adler’s product, direct mail is very important to their business. In addition, they identified that they have a younger demographic customer that is also very loyal to their brand so the marketing team targets them through social channels like Instagram and Pinterest.

What advice or words of wisdom do you want to share with people who are in your same position of trying to increase customer engagement and build customer loyalty?

Using AgilOne, we’ve been able to get a single view of each customer, see how frequently people are shopping, what they're spending, etc. The more you’re consolidating customer records and collapsing that information into one profile, the clearer you are on your customer shopping habits and spend potential over a lifetime.

At Jonathan Adler, we’re now diving into more sophisticated analysis. For example, if someone comes in and his/her first purchase is a candle, what are they likely to purchase on their next visit? Knowing that information impacts how we market to them. We're now exploring the appropriate, expected timeframe for someone to come in for their second purchase. Does that second purchase probability vary based on whether they bought what we call cash and carry, which is something you can take out of the store that day, or a piece of furniture that comes in a couple of weeks? And are those shopping behaviors and shopping patterns different and if so, should we market to those two populations differently?

What is your advice for retailers in 2016? What’s on the horizon?

My biggest piece of advice is to know your customer and be smart about developing lasting relationships with your base. The competitive landscape is growing which means customer loyalty is harder to gain. Options are endless and customer attention spans are getting shorter and shorter, so the luxury landscape is getting a bit muted. I think in the past there was more of a line between mass and luxury that we no longer see since the economy crashed.

"...we live in an extremely promotional world, so despite every retailer, every brand trying to steer clear of promotions, it's like a drug. And we're all kind of addicted to it."

Loyalty today can be fleeting - customers make decisions a lot faster because they look for instant gratification. That means that if you don't have your product ready to go at the time someone wants it, they're not going to wait around for it. If someone else is giving your customer a better offer, they're going to shop with that brand versus your brand. Additionally, we live in an extremely promotional world, so despite every retailer, every brand trying to steer clear of promotions, it's a drug. And we're all kind of addicted to it.

"AgilOne has been an integral partner helping us to differentiate from the competition."

The world of promotions and the world of loyalty is completely different than it was eight years ago, ten years ago, and it's chaotic. How do you cut through the clutter? That really is the challenge for every brand. Certainly, promotionally, at Jonathan Adler we sometimes align with the competition, but we work to ensure our story is clear, that our creative is compelling, and that we are always distinguishing what's different about our product. AgilOne has been an integral partner helping us to differentiate from the competition.

The holidays are big for retail brands. What is your advice for other brands during the holidays in order to increase sales and brand loyalty?

This year, we've upped our marketing spend and we're going for a one-two punch. In late October, we are doing a mailer that's just about how to get yourself ready for the holidays. We've always highlighted the gifts you buy other people, but this year, we're kicking it off with a pre-Thanksgiving message on holiday prep.

We're pairing that with rich content on our website that's specific to entertaining. We'll provide tips on being the hostess with the mostess leveraging our incredible product assortment. Everything from invites and ambience, to florals and dinnerware.

About four weeks later, we’ll send out a luxe 20-page catalog centered on giftable items. No matter how long your gift list, we've got perfect presents for everyone. We're also doing a holiday-focused sweepstakes with three incredible like-minded brands with large, established audiences. It's a great time to drive traffic and put our brand in front of new names and faces.

The holidays can be a crazy time with non-stop promotions. How to cut through the endless noise? We try to be  category-specific with our promotions so that each promotion feels special and motivates purchase.