March 04, 2007

Leaving Nordstrom

With mixed feelings, I have decided to leave my job as Vice President of Database Marketing at Nordstrom.

The positive side of this equation is that I am thrilled to be "running to something", not "running away from something". I will start my own business, appropriately called "MineThatData"!! My business will clearly explain the complex relationship between Customers, Advertising, Products, Brands and Channels to Multichannel CEOs and Executives.

My business will focus on the emerging field of Multichannel Forensics, a framework for understanding complex customer relationships coupled with a sophisticated forecasting tool used to understand the long-term sales, profit and growth potential of a multichannel business. Click here for a white paper on the topic of Multichannel Forensics.

I am so looking forward to starting this business!

This was not an easy decision to make. Nordstrom is a wonderful company to work for, consistently ranked as one of the top one-hundred companies to work for in the United States. I spent more than six years at Nordstrom, more time than at any previous company I worked at. That speaks volumes about the people I have worked with, and the environment at Nordstrom.

It will be particularly hard to leave the wonderful people who work in our Database Marketing department. My management team is among the most talented and experienced in the multichannel retailing industry.
  • Few folks know more about multichannel circulation than Michael Einfalt. Not many folks manage teams that can explain the multichannel ROI of over 1,000 direct mail campaigns each year. Fewer people have linked clickstream behavior and retail purchasing to catalog response analytics. Almost nobody is a better manager of people than Michael. The latter is simply taken for granted. Few people truly see or appreciate his genius. Michael is too humble to brag about it.
  • Few individuals are as innovative as Jennifer Thornton, our E-Mail Circulation and Online Analytics Manager. She has a rare combination of enthusiasm, energy, creativity, innovation, and an instinct to know whether something is 'right' or 'wrong', correct or incorrect. Jennifer has the potential to be a great leader in multichannel database marketing. I doubt anybody in our industry knows more about catalog circulation, e-mail campaign execution and analysis, and the use of social media in retailing. What a unique combination of skills. Jennifer is well-positioned for the future of our industry.
  • Jay Long is our Director of Business Intelligence, the data mining, ad-hoc query and analysis arm of Nordstrom Database Marketing. No individual in the history of Nordstrom answered more questions about customer behavior (from a database) than Jay answered during the past six years. Jay completes more analyses per hour worked than any individual I have ever worked with. Couple that fact with his typical twelve hour day, and you have one of the most productive Business Intelligence individuals to ever work in multichannel retailing. Jay exhibits everything that is good about Nordstrom. Humble, honest, bursting with integrity and accountability, Jay has done more to make others look good at Nordstrom than any individual I have worked with. He sacrificed his career objectives to help others, always looking to support our Executive Team and our Decision Makers. Future leaders in Consumer Insights / Database Marketing will look great because of the foundation Jay built.
Linda Finn is our Chief Marketing Officer. She deserves huge kudos for providing an environment that allowed our team to do our job, without the micro-management and "do-it-my-way-or-the-highway" style exhibited by some leaders. She trusted our information, and trusted we were always trying to do what was best for Nordstrom. "LT", as she is known by, will go in the books as one of the better bosses I've worked for.

A few years ago, Jim Bromley was leaving his post as the leader of the online and catalog division of Nordstrom. Mr. Bromley asked me what I wanted to accomplish during the remainder of my time at Nordstrom. I told him that I "wanted to see how the story ended".

My first assignment at Nordstrom was to help Nordstrom Direct (catalog + online channel) become a profitable arm of a multichannel retailer. Several management teams later, the mission has been accomplished!

My second assignment at Nordstrom was to integrate separate teams that analyzed customer information and managed circulation for different divisions. Our employees did an exceptional job of building a team that looked at "one customer", across all Nordstrom channels.

My final assignment at Nordstrom was to use customer information to help our transition into multichannel retailing. I got to see what happens, politically, professionally, and financially, when a traditional catalog program ceases to exist. I learned what happened to the online business and the retail business when a catalog program is shut down. I observed what happened to customer acquisition when all traditional catalog acquisition activities end (list management, list brokerage, compiled lists, etc.). What a valuable learning experience!

Truthfully, I learned more about the impact of multichannel advertising during the past two years than I learned in my first seventeen years as a professional. That kind of experience can only happen when you essentially shut down one of your channels.

Having survived these assignments, I got to see how the story ended. I am ready to tackle my next endeavor. Thank you to everybody at Nordstrom, for making the past six years so educational, so memorable, so intellectually stimulating. I highly recommend Nordstrom as an employer, and think the world of my team at Nordstrom.


  1. Anonymous2:54 PM

    >>Kevin not too long ago::::Good feedback, Anonymous --thanks for sharing.This "running your own business" sounds better and better with each passing day! >>

    You move fast!
    Congratulations on your decision and obviously best wishes for complete success. I am about 5-10 years from doing that so I really admire your move.
    I am looking forward to seeing how your log evolves to include the added challenges you now face.


  2. Anonymous4:13 PM

    Congratulations Kevin, welcome to Independent Consulting. If there's anything I can do let me know...other than the obvious, which is to send you some business!

  3. Anonymous6:07 PM

    Hey Kevin,

    Congratulations! Best of luck as you "run to something!" I look forward to following your blog as you move into the independent world of consulting.

    Go get 'em!

  4. Anonymous --- get started planning your future now! I purchased the MineThatData URL eight years ago, and have been waiting for the right time to do this.

    Jim --- just refer big, meaningful, strategic projects from reputable businesses with the kindest CEOs.

    Ray --- thanks for the nice comments, I appreciate it!

  5. Anonymous1:11 PM

    Congratulations Kevin! I am so happy for you. Good luck.


  6. Anonymous2:29 PM

    You have more knowledge -- and wisdom -- than any single company could effectively use. Congratulations, best wishes and may I also note that the kind words to your staff are both eloquent, and well-earned.

  7. Congratulations Kevin.

    I just assume, for the sake of my own intellectual well being, that the frequency and the quality of your blogs will go a couple yards ahead (if thats possible!) with your going independent!

    All the besT!

  8. Anonymous8:14 PM

    Wow, anonymous, how nice!! Who are you????

    Amit, thanks, and I will continue to do my best to share information in an honest and open manner.

  9. Kevin,

    Good luck to you in going solo! It's courageous and I wish you nothing but the best. Our paths may have crossed in the past at a Retail/Etail show and I look forward to mutual learning through your blog.



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