January 13, 2021

A Department Name

I drove from Ames, IA to Dodgeville, WI on a crisp fall day in November 1990. I had a job interview at Lands' End. I wanted to become their next Statistical Analyst ... something akin to the modern "Data Scientist" job title that is popular today. In time, I'd wear a pocket protector and a bow tie ... our team's way of fighting back against the opinions others had of us.

My position was part of a department called "Customer Planning and Development" ... "CP&D".

Customer Planning and Development.

The mission of our department was to plan (forecast) how customers would behave in the future, and then develop customers (through the only tool we had in 1990 ... the mailing of catalogs).

We had a lot of customer reporting, telling us how good of a job we did at developing customers. First-time buyers, developing buyers, loyal buyers, we had a process for developing customers. Sure, the reporting was antiquated compared to real-time insights obtained in 2021.

But the process was not antiquated.

It was at Lands' End where I learned the perils of over-investing in Emergent Customers and Loyal Customers. It was at Lands' End where I learned of the importance of new customers, of Acquisition. All of those concepts apply today.

What's missing today is the concept of "Developing" a customer.

COVID gave most e-commerce brands a whopper of a blessing ... with +20% comp segment gains on Emergent Customers paired with +50% to +150% gains in New Customer Acquisition.

During the second half of 2021 and first half of 2022, we will need to have a process in place to Develop customers.

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