August 05, 2009

Gliebers Dresses: The Aftermath

Welcome to the Gliebers Dresses Executive Meeting.

Glenn Glieber (Owner): "... maybe the most amazing comment came from our old friend, Sarah Wheldon. When the Times asked Sarah what Anna Carter thought of Reese Witherspoon wearing a dress from Gliebers, Sarah said that, and I quote ... 'Gliebers is a great company, and a worthy competitor. But they are a lot like a brontosaurus stuck in a tar pit, facing extinction. They are simply not nimble enough, nor in a position to capitalize on their own good fortune.' What did we ever do to her to cause her to spew venom like that?"

Meredith Thompson (Chief Merchandising Officer): "Kevin, is that you?"

Kevin: "Yup, it is me."

Pepper Morgan (Interim Chief Marketing Officer): "Kevin, have you had a chance to analyze the traffic from the Reese Witherspoon event?"

Kevin: "Yes I have. Our Multichannel Forensics analysis tell us that 7,000 customers purchased a dress during the past three days. The forecast was for 3,000 orders. Of the 7,000 orders, 4,500 came from first time buyers, while 2,500 came from existing buyers. We expected to have 1,000 orders from first time buyers and 2,000 orders from existing buyers. So, we have a 4.5x increase in orders from first time buyers, and a 25% increase in orders from existing buyers."

Roger Morgan (Operations and IT): "It has been amazing to watch online conversion rates. Conversion rates were in the mid-20% range three days ago. Today, traffic is five times that of normal levels, but conversion rates are only around 2%. In other words, those who had to have the dress got the dress on the first day, and now, we're getting lots of traffic that seems to want to see just who the heck Gliebers Dresses is."

Kevin: "It will be very important to follow the new buyers, folks. After we run our matchback program and remove all new customers who received a catalog, we'll have a pool of customers that we can code as being acquired during the 'Reese Witherspoon Event'. At other companies, customers acquired in this manner tend to be less valuable, long-term, and tend to be less responsive to traditional advertising. The customer was buying an 'event', if you will, she wasn't necessarily buying from Gliebers Dresses. At least that's a hypothesis that we'll have to prove or disprove."

Meredith Thompson: "Oh I hope you are wrong. These customers have to love Gliebers Dresses, or they wouldn't buy our dress, would they?"

Candi Layton (Chief Customer Officer and HR): "You should hear what people are saying on Twitter. @ReeseIsLegallyGreat said "I can't wait to get my Reese Witherspoon cocktail dress from Gliebers. Hubby promised to take me to Olive Garden if I wear it!" And look at this comment from @Fashion092658, she says "Reese Witherspoon and Gliebers Dresses are a perfect fit!"

Pepper Morgan: "We did get in touch with Reese Witherspoon's PR folks. Unfortunately, her PR team communicated to us that we are not to, in any way, promote her affiliation with our dresses in the catalog or on the website."

Roger Morgan: "What about e-mail? Have we found a loophole here?"

Pepper Morgan: "I think they mean that they don't want us to promote her via our brand."

Lois Gladstone: "Just running some back-of-the-envelope numbers here. Sales will increase by about a million dollars this month, yielding about $300,000 or more of incremental profit. I'd be willing to take a third of that and give it to Ms. Witherspoon as a promotional fee if she were willing to grace the cover of our catalog."

Roger Morgan: "I'd prefer to take $100,000 and make website improvements that increase conversion rate."

Candi Layton: "I'd prefer to take $100,000 and give every one of these customers expedited shipping, so that they spread the word about how great Gliebers Dresses really is."

Lois Gladstone: "I'm serious, folks. Given what we've learned this week, show me a place where we'd get a better ROI than plastering Reese Witherspoon on the cover of our Holiday catalog?"

Meredith Thompson: "Scotty Jennings could design an entire line around Reese Witherspoon. Imagine ... 'the Reese Witherspoon Collection' from Gliebers Dresses, now available at Macys. Catalogs, e-mails, television commercials, true multichannel retailing too. We need to dream big, folks."

Pepper Morgan: "Ms. Witherspoon's PR team said that they did not wish to be associated with our catalog or website."

Lois Gladstone: "That's just what people say when they're looking for money. Toss her a quick $100,000, and she'll go on The Today Show and tell the world how much she loves us."

Meredith Thompson: "Come on Pepper, get Reese Witherspoon to work with us!"

Roger Morgan: "I really think we need to spend incremental profits on our infrastructure, so that we can take care of our core customer when the buzz goes away in a few days."

Lois Gladstone: "Come on Pepper, get Reese Witherspoon!"

Candi Layton: "It would be huge on Twitter, I can promise you that."

Glenn Glieber: "Well folks, that's enough. Fun stuff! Based on our meeting today, I don't think we looked like a brontosaurus stuck in a tar pit, facing extinction. We were full of vibrant ideas. Ok, on to the next topic. Ruth Crandall from the call center wants to add a few fields to the order entry screens to capture customers who purchase because of special events, like our Reese Witherspoon deal. Roger, could you make those improvements to the order entry system by tomorrow morning?"

Roger Morgan: "It would be easier if I had $100,000 to fund the improvements!"


  1. Some of these fictional posts are funny, all are educational ... but this one is kind of horrifying. Reese W. will never buy another Gliebers dress and possibly her pals won't either. And all the ideas about what to do with the windfall money ... scary. Some are good ideas, but the rationality has been sucked out of the room.

  2. Sometimes the rationality does get sucked out of the rooms that Executive Teams meet in.


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