1. Focus on your core customer. “Know their hearts and minds,” she said. “Direct marketers have so much rich and wonderful data at their fingertips. But it’s often internal data and how your file’s doing, and less about the external marketplace and potential customers for you.”
Three years ago, Appleseed’s conducted research to gain a picture of its customers through more than mere demographics. The research uncovered several different customer profiles.
* One type revealed such key customer attributes as having a bold style, enjoying shopping at malls and department stores (and Chico’s in particular), being fashion-conscious, updating her wardrobe often and enjoying sales help.
* Another Appleseed’s customer is more traditional, conservative and value-oriented, only shops when necessary, is not fashion-conscious, updates wardrobe based on needs, and prefers sales associates leave her alone in stores.
* Then another type of customer prefers a classic, tailored and prefers specialty stores, although she feels that Talbots has passed her by.
In discussing her first fitness factor, Spofford advised other catalogers to gain insight, know your market and segment your customers. What’s more, maximize your customer knowledge by leveraging your transactional data to tailor programs, offer the appropriate assortment and communicate well.
She strongly urged other multichannel marketers to maintain an ongoing dialog with customers. Appleseed’s conducts focus groups every six month. “They remind you what you should pay attention to,” she said. “You can get their reactions, stay in touch and gain more personal information. We’ve never done a focus group and not gained something productive. Focus groups don’t have to be fancy and overly expensive.”
As part of its focus group efforts, a few years ago Appleseed’s did a segmentation study customers by speaking with 800 of them, ranging in age from 50 to 75. “We sought how to grow and position ourselves for this demographic wave coming this way,” she said.