April 02, 2015

Gliebers Dresses: Good Friday

Yes, this is a fictional business story, where I try to explain topics that folks don't necessarily want to have real discussions about. If this isn't your cup of tea, then why not read this article (click here) from Google about how much they love Macy's omnichannel approach?


Without further delay, I take you to the Gliebers Dresses Executive Conference Room


Glenn Glieber (CEO, Owner): Why don't we get started, folks? I'd like to make this quick, so I can attend the Good Friday service at church.

Lois Gladstone (Chief Financial Officer): Where is Pepper?

Glenn Glieber: No need to be smug, Lois. You already know that I suspended her with pay for one month.

Roger Morgan (Chief Operations Officer): She's at church right now with the girls.

Meredith Thompson (Chief Merchandising Officer):  But why suspend her?

Glenn Glieber: I held her accountable for working with a vendor that is costing us money. You and Lois wanted somebody held accountable. I held Pepper accountable.

Meredith Thompson: I wanted the vendor held accountable.

Lois Gladstone: She should have been fired.

Roger Morgan: I think even Brittney Spears would agree that you've become toxic, Lois.

Lois Gladstone: Omicron is not performing well, and we can't get away from them because they are too important to our business. Somebody has to be held accountable.

Glenn Glieber: Can we focus on business? How were sales yesterday?

(Roger, Meredith, and Lois all sit quietly, unable to answer)

Glenn Glieber: Nobody knows the answer?

Meredith Thompson: Pepper isn't here to answer the question.

Roger Morgan: Lois is responsible for marketing in Pepper's absence. Lois, answer the question.

Lois Gladstone: I'm getting a lot of questions in Pepper's absence. Yesterday, our merge/purge vendor wanted to know how many names should be in our June holdout test.

Roger Morgan: What did your answer?

Lois Gladstone: Well, the vendor told me to not put sales at risk.

Meredith Thompson: See, that's a vendor who is trying to protect us.

Lois Gladstone: So I said we should only have 200 customers in the holdout test.

Roger Morgan: What?

Lois Gladstone: That's what the vendor said! Then the vendor asked if I was sure I wanted 200 customers in the holdout test. I thought about what the vendor said. So I changed my mind.

Roger Morgan: Thank God.

Lois Gladstone: I told the vendor to only include 100 customers in the holdout test.

Roger Morgan: You need at least 10,000 customers to achieve statistical significance. You just ruined a test.

Meredith Thompson: Hold her accountable, Roger!

Lois Gladstone: I didn't ruin anything.

Roger Morgan: Look, in my left hand, I am holding a report from Woodside Research. This $495 gem talks all about how Google invented A/B testing and it outlines how important it is to have enough customers in a holdout test to be able to properly measure results.

Lois Gladstone: But the vendor told me to not put sales at risk.

Meredith Thompson: This is your fault, Lois.

Lois Gladstone: I didn't mean to do something wrong. It's hardly my fault.

Meredith Thompson: In Pepper's absence, you are accountable for marketing. You should be fired. Honestly.

Lois Gladstone: I didn't even know what I was doing. You should only fire folks when they know what they are doing.

Glenn Glieber: Why would we ever not mail customers catalogs?

Roger Morgan: Woodside Research says there is a sweet spot in testing. For a company our size, it is around 10,000 customers.

Lois Gladstone: I also got a call from our Email Service Provider. They told me that we should back up from five email campaigns a week to three, so that we could eliminate some of the opt-out challenges we have.

Meredith Thompson: Did you listen to the vendor?

Lois Gladstone: Their argument made sense. They said that by not sending out email campaigns, we would reduce opt-outs, and by reducing opt-outs, we'd create customer advocates who would evangelize our brand for us. They told me that their strategy would act a lot like free marketing.

Glenn Glieber: I love free marketing!

Roger Morgan: So you cancelled two email campaigns for next week?

Lois Gladstone: Yes.

Meredith Thompson: Which two?

Lois Gladstone: Does it matter?

Meredith Thompson: Does it matter? Does it matter!! We buy inventory to meet email marketing demand. When you kill two campaigns, you kill demand for the two featured items. Now I have to liquidate those items. That costs us gross margin dollars.

Roger Morgan: Lois, aren't you held accountable for generating gross margin dollars?

Lois Gladstone: The vendor said we'd reduce opt-outs.

Meredith Thompson: Every time Roger brings up some stupid vendor idea endorsed by Woodside Research, we yell at him. You've been accountable for marketing for just one week and you're already falling under their spell.

Lois Gladstone: I'm not under a spell.

Meredith Thompson: Either we fire you, or we fire the vendors, Lois. Somebody has to be held accountable.

Lois Gladstone: I guess I didn't see how all of this stuff was connected.

Roger Morgan: Interesting.

Lois Gladstone: At least our social media agency isn't costing us sales.

Meredith Thompson: That's because social media doesn't work when your core customer is older than fifty-five years old.

Lois Gladstone: They wanted us to stand up for equal treatment of all individuals by tweeting stuff using the hashtag #wecareabouteverybody.

Meredith Thompson: Sounds risky to me.

Lois Gladstone: You should have seen all the nasty replies we got.

Meredith Thompson: Why would you listen to a social media vendor?

Lois Gladstone: It sounded like a good idea. What is so bad about caring about everybody? You know I learned yesterday? There's a lot of people out there who don't care about anybody!

Meredith Thompson: Those aren't our customers. Trolls don't buy dresses, they hide under bridges.

Roger Morgan: You were crucified for taking an unpopular stance.

Lois Gladstone: I had to temporarily shut down our Twitter account.

Meredith Thompson: You should hold the vendor accountable.

Lois Gladstone: All I did was tweet that we care about everybody. Why should anybody be persecuted for that?

Glenn Glieber: Are you telling me that you ran my good name through the mud?

Meredith Thompson: Never mix politics, religion, and business. Pepper knew where the line was, and she knew not to cross it.

Lois Gladstone: Well, I learned a valuable lesson this week.

Roger Morgan: What's that?

Lois Gladstone: Marketing is a lot harder than I thought it was.

Roger Morgan: Maybe next time you'll be nicer to Ashley Cole and the good folks at Omicron.

Lois Gladstone: Oh heck no, they need to be held accountable.