June 19, 2007


Database Marketing thoughts from eight flights in eight days:

In an amazing display of "co-branding", I observed a program on the United Television Network with a feature from NBC/Universal showing Larry King of CNN interviewing Kathy Griffin of Bravo.

If you had ninety seconds to convey a concise and helpful message for new Eddie Bauer CEO Neil Filske on how to turn around the beleaguered brand, what would your message be? By the way, check out the analysis of CEO compensation at Eddie Bauer verses Nordstrom mentioned in this article.

Speaking of marketing, I'm coming around to the thought that the iPod was invented to project us from the world of marketing, blocking out the audible half of marketing.

Good things happen to good people! Avinash hits the jackpot, getting his web analytics book mentioned on Seth's Blog.

My lost luggage was deemed a "baggage irregularity".

You can't hit an FM scan button these days without running into "Jack FM", "Bob FM" or "Mike FM". I'll tune in when I hear "Avinash FM".

I actually heard a pilot come over the audio system and offer a "co-branded opportunity presented by trusted business partners USAir and Bank of America". Yes, the pilot used the phrase "co-branded opportunity".

Four flight attendants did a spectacular job of helping a woman who was having a panic attack, fearful that the plane was about to crash while in heavy turbulence.

Quick quiz: If you aren't in the Database Marketing or analytics community, tell me what the following acronyms stand for, and how they relate to your job?
  • BI
  • KPI
  • LTV
  • BPM
  • CPM
  • CPC
  • AOV
  • DMPC


  1. lol a "baggage irregularity"? That's the first time I've heard that one :)

    I haven't had any mishaps since I started using Global Bag Tags but anything can happen :)

  2. Anonymous5:39 PM

    Sorry to hear about your baggage irregularity---hope that was only irregularity of your traveling.
    Regarding Fiske---1. Increase licensing efforts, easiest way to make money without high costs. 2. Revisit demographics of stores. Close slow performers, open new stores in suburbs with homes over $800k. The tough part is knowing when to let go of stores.I hate to advocate firing anyone, but sometimes you have to tighten belt when your costs are that high.
    3. Set benchmarks. Obviously a sale of the company is desired by shareholders but they want better price. Determine how to get to that desired price.
    4.Cut Target deal as it cheapens the image.
    5. Consider other retail partnerships with store inside store concept. Sears already has Land's End, but maybe Kohls or Macy's(they need help) could benefit as the name brand boosts their image and allows opportunities for cross marketing and building their catalog/online business with more skilled professionals. Saks might be another one, as Eddie Bauer is more upscale then the Carsons group they cut loose to bonton. Nordstroms and Neiman Marcus could also benefit but unlikely how they would fit.
    5. These partnerships might lead to the desired buyout. All three can afford a $400-500 million dollar price tag which is probably what shareholders would go for. Nordstroms or Neiman Marcus more than likely wouldn't pay that much but who knows.


  3. Anonymous3:37 AM

    What would you do if you were new CEO of Eddie Bauer? Back when you worked there I am sure you day dreamed about it quite a bit, right? Very interested in your take.

  4. During the heyday of the company (i.e. mid 1990s), Eddie Bauer was a masculine brand that made money selling to women (in my opinion).

    In other words, the retail experience was largely masculine. Men and Women walked into the store. Men were immediately distracted by the "sportshop", a place where fishing lures and canoes and outdoor gear kept the man busy for twenty minutes while the woman shopped for both of them in the store.

    Of course, the merchandise in the "sportshop" didn't sell worth a lick --- so at one point in 1996, the decision was made to kill that part of the store.

    All of the other economic forces that were going to happen anyway (retail over-saturation, the demolition of a true middle-class etc.) would have brought Eddie Bauer down.

    But, Eddie Bauer would not have sunk as far, and would have maintained its soul, had it kept the "sportshop". Within two years, men no longer bothered to step into the store, mens merchandise began to falter. Shortly thereafter, women didn't have men to go into the store with them, so they picked their favorite specialty apparel retailer as an alternative, and the game was over.

    Want to take a risk --- put a genuine sportshop back into thirty stores as a test. There has to be a reason why Eddie Bauer is different than L.L. Bean, Eddie Bauer, Lands' End, Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic, Ann Taylor, Coldwater Creek, J. Jill, Talbots, J. Crew, and a veritable plethora of clones. Today, Eddie Bauer is an "average" of those companies, in my opinion. Eddie Bauer needs to stand out.

    I would cut my catalog spend by maybe a third. I would re-allocate those dollars across a plethora of "field marketing" activities, "grass roots" activities. I'd sponsor book clubs. I'd pay to clean up, fix or maintain hiking trails. I'd pay to fix a dam so that salmon could swim upstream. I'd blog about all of those activities. I'd blog about old stories about how Eddie Bauer himself did "x" and "y" with his bomber jacket. I'd have my staff volunteer at an animal shelter, giving away merchandise to the staff who tirelessly give of themselves. All marketing would be at a grassroots level, rebuilding outdoor credibility one potential customer at a time. I could go on and on and on.

  5. These days, the customer is the brand. The more interesting your archtypical customer is, the more interesting your brand will be.

    People want to be remarkable on some level, and they will gravitate to brands that are not a reflection of who they are -- but whom they want to be. They want the brand to perfect them; to make up for their shortcomings. The more a brand can be perceived as doing this, the more pricing power there is for the brand -- and the greater the customer loyalty.

    I don't know who Eddie Bauer's customer is, so it's hard for me to see myself being perfected through their brand. Furthermore, if I were really insecure (like most people), I'd want to live vicariously through brands that have a more pronounced flair in the marketplace.

    Nobody cuts through the clutter by being Jason Whitebread. Or Eddie Bauer.

    They need more of an edge -- and I just don't see that happening with the team they have in place. I'd start by raiding the Red Bull pen.

    That'll be $30K, please.

  6. BI - Business Intelligence
    KPI - Key Performance Indicator
    LTV - Lifetime Value
    BPM - Bits per Minute
    CPM - Cost per Thousand
    CPC - Cost per Click
    AOV - Avg Order Value
    DMPC - What?? D'oh!


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