• As all CMOs know, data expertise is intrinsic to building a customer-centric company in a digital world. This expertise can be wielded in different ways, as RampUp attendees learned in a session featuring four data and analytics leaders from retail and entertainment. Each expressed a unique point of view on what being customer-centric  means to their organization, and how this responsibility helps strengthen collaboration among teams and enhances what customers see, think, and feel about a brand.

    Vitaly Tsivin, SVP, (Head of) Business Intelligence, AMC Networks, explained how his team owns customer data and is responsible for sharing it to drive business results: “My business intelligence team [provides] data services [and] customer-centric services to the entire organization. It empowers us to share the knowledge and expertise and tricks and use cases with every department we work with, from marketing to sales to digital and so on.”

    But what happens if, unlike AMC—well-known for popular shows like “Mad Men” and “The Walking Dead”—your company’s part in creating mainstream entertainment is a few steps removed from the red carpet?

    “We have a unique situation … we don’t have any relationship with the customer at all. We are the producer of a movie. We hand that movie to a distributor, like Warner Brothers or Universal, and then they hand it to an exhibitor like AMC or Regal. Transactions all happen at that level,” Matt Marolda, Chief Analytics Officer, Legendary Entertainment, explained. Among other mainstream fare, Legendary has produced the “Dark Knight” series, “Godzilla” and “King Kong.”

    We had to infer customers and build it in a different way … Our central database allows us to recast audiences in new ways and target them very specifically.”

    “We had to create an entirely different approach for ourselves, which was to build our data knowledge removed from the transaction. We actively and aggressively acquired data. We were eventually able to build a database of a billion emails, hundreds of millions of social handles, things of that nature. That’s unique for us. We had to infer customers and build it in a different way … Our central database allows us to recast audiences in new ways and target them very specifically.”

    Marolda’s example shows how other companies a step or two removed from consumers can take control of their data and become customer-centric by organizing, connecting, and analyzing it. Armed with insights derived from good data, any company can create data narratives and build relationships with their audiences.

    Retail also has unique customer-centric challenges based on company size, data, market opportunity, and relationship to the end customer, as marketing analytics leads from Everlane, a clothing startup, and Sears Holdings, a legacy brand, revealed.

    Kerem Tomak, Chief Digital Marketing & Analytics Officer, Sears Holdings, spoke about a shared ownership of the customer between its loyalty program, Shop Your Way, and the digital channels his team runs.

    “We drive member engagement and understand the member journey as we are giving [Shop Your Way] loyalty points for them to come buy from Sears and Kmart … We understand the responses of customers to each and every digital marketing channel we run, and then optimize for best experience,” he said.

    With its comparatively smaller workforce, customer base and volume, Everlane optimizes the customer experience by sharing this responsibility across teams.

    “At Everlane, while my team and I actually do own the customer data, I don’t think you could point at any single group within the company and say, ‘That group really owns their customer.’ Everybody is involved, and everyone is focused on treating the customer right,” Loren Simon, Head of Digital Marketing & Analytics, Everlane, shared.

    “You’ve got a design team who are heavily focused on creating the right product. They’re constantly talking to customers, serving them and getting feedback around products. You have our engineering team, who are constantly talking to customers about site enhancements. You have my team who are out there doing paid marketing. So everybody feels that they have a stake in the customer.”

    Watch the session to hear more about how focusing on being customer-centric manifests across teams and workflows.

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