August 11, 2013

2008: Fix It!

Five popular songs from 2008:
  • "Low" - Flo Rida featuring T-Pain
  • "Bleeding Love" - Leona Lewis
  • "No One" - Alicia Keys
  • "Lollipop" - Lil' Wayne featuring Static Major
  • "Apologize" - Timbaland featuring One Republic
Fun times!

Your house depreciated by 20% over a two year span (with another 20% to come).  By the end of 2008, comp store sales were mired in a fifteen months slide.  The Dow Jones Industrial average dropped nearly 800 points in one day in September 2008.

A plan was hatched to fix the problem.  The Troubled Assets Relief Program, or TARP, would provide $700,000,000,000+ of support to keep the banking system afloat.  With 110,000,000 families in the United States, each family was essentially being asked to contribute just shy of $7,000 to make banks whole.

On Saturday Night Live, commentary looked something like this:

In the world of consulting, things weren't necessarily all that different!  Business leaders wanted consultants to "Fix It!"

Like in the video, it's easy to identify a problem.

In the real world, it isn't always easy to solve a problem.

I worked with a company that figured out how to Fix It!  They had a customer acquisition plan, and they had a merchandising plan that integrated with the customer acquisition plan. Combined, the integrated plan (no, not channel integration ... an integration of new customer acquisition strategy with a merchandising strategy) yielded significant growth during a time frame when the global economy was in meltdown mode.

On Twitter, you'll get a veritable plethora of advice similar to that described in the video (step one = identify the problem, step two = fix it).

In my 6+ years of consulting work, there is one common theme, a theme with three elements, a theme that consistently yields positive results.
  1. A strong (and inexpensive) customer acquisition plan.
  2. A strong new merchandise development plan.
  3. Integration of marketing and merchandising plans.
2008 was the first year I observed a company doing all three things well.  In the teeth of an economic catastrophe, as everybody else yelled "FIX IT", this company silently grew.  

They had a plan.

Today, we're knee deep in mobile, and it's retail cousin, "omnichannel".  Don't let lust for channel dominance delude you ... focus on inexpensive customer acquisition, a strong merchandise / new item plan, and integration of marketing and merchandising plans.

Email Marketing and Discounts

It comes up over and over again. The email marketing team wants to maximize open rates (not profit, mind you, open rates). How does one...