Clothes, as much as they might seem separate from marketing, form the building blocks of individualism in modern society. Fashion categorizes our personality, our ecosystem, and our status. It only makes sense, then, for a retailer to market to their customers as unique individuals who want to be treated as such. That’s why I ventured into the marketing department of the distinctly American retailer, Vineyard Vines, while researching marketing technology for my book Marketing, Interrupted.
In my article with Harvard Business Review, I shared the research and analytic strategies that sent that little pink whale swimming toward success, but let’s take a step back. Vineyard Vines might have optimized their strategy to react to analytics and earn customers’ trust, but how did they know how to use their data? How did they know where to set their goals? Driving sales is at the root of all marketing decisions, but why did they employ their analytics data the way that they did?
The answer is simple: They used analytics and automation to narrow in on specific personas based on purchasing habits, interests, and personal engagement with the brand, a feat that would have been impossible without the help of the retail marketing automation platform, Bluecore.
Targeting specific personas gives a company—particularly a strongly-branded business like Vineyard Vines—the customer-business relationship that separates it from other organizations. Highly-specific digital platforms allow for large-scale data collection and the ability to appeal to consumers’ needs on an individual level. If automation is the road to travel down, then analytics are the car that propels you. Analytics trigger change, they target points of improvement and points of expansion. Simply put, analytics help you reach individuals, not broad groups, and that’s how you earn an audience’s support.
Once you’ve identified your targets, then your use of analytics shifts from helping you identify, to helping you connect. In the case of Vineyard Vines, Artificial Intelligence-driven decision making highlighted the need to re-attract distracted customers, to employ urgency with holiday and special event campaigns, and even predict when a customer showed signs of unsubscribing. Connection and conversation form the base of all business success, and Vineyard Vines proved a stellar example of how to drive customer-centric goals.
When it comes down to it, targeted marketing is a direct appeal to the ultimately human need to find a unique place in a world as vast as the one we currently live in. Using analytics to define and clarify your audience is a win-win; it means more business for you and happy customers who are loyal to your brand. If you’re ready to plunge into the specifics of how Vineyard Vines achieved the success that they did, you can find my HBR article here.