CMO POV: Pet Supplies Plus - No Silos On This Marketing Team!

CMO POV: Pet Supplies Plus - No Silos On This Marketing Team!

We asked Amy Parker, SVP and chief marketing officer at Pet Supplies Plus, "How do you build an all-encompassing marketing department and assemble the kind of team that gets results?" Here's what she had to say.

The main goals for most marketing teams at multi-unit brick-and-mortar franchises are primarily the same: acquire new customers and drive in-store traffic. It's how each marketing department chooses to build its team and communicate the brand's message that differentiates one from another. At Pet Supplies Plus, we are structured in a fairly traditional manner with support groups that include analytics, creative, and retail marketing components. However, the way we use these groups to build our marketing programs has recently evolved.

For any franchise, knowing the customer is - and will always be - the most important component of successful marketing. That will never change. For our brand, that means the pet parents in neighborhoods across 25 states. Over the past few years, the way we communicate with our customer has changed with the advent of social and digital channels. This in turn has changed how I look to build a successful marketing team.

With new technology allowing marketers to understand customers in a more complex manner, it is more important now than ever that we find the right people for our company, people who understand customer behavior beyond the four walls of our store and who are able to look beyond simple purchase history. An abundance of customer data is available today, leading customers to expect that brands will know more about them and apply the information appropriately through marketing collateral. To deliver accurate messages to current and future customers at the right time, it is imperative that our team is well-versed in all of the data available to us and has a deep understanding of the technology that goes into market research.

Marketing professionals also need to have a strong partnership with the company's technology department. This will allow them to gather the appropriate data to integrate into their marketing strategies. I work with our CIO, Miles Tedder, much more closely now than in the past. Together, we are able to pick up where each of our teams leaves off to create a deeper understanding of our customer. Information from the technology department provides us with what we need from a POS standpoint, allowing us to best use information from our Preferred Pet Club database. The company's IT department has generalists who work with marketing, but as we continue to evolve I could imagine we might have our own tech specialists in the marketing department in the future.

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