CMO Roundtable - Using Profiling to Retain More Customers

What are some fresh, innovative ways you are using profiling, targeting,
and loyalty programs to acquire and retain more customers?

Linda Fierce, Regis Corp.
Dir. of Marketing, Franchise Brands
At Regis, our marketing team and franchisees are always working together to further meet the needs of our customers. Our strategies are informed by customer feedback from all brands, and with the strength of our franchisee network we are able to share successes and ideas between multiple brands.

One of our most popular loyalty programs is the Supercuts email haircut reminder. As a loyalty program, it not only helps us stay in touch with our customers, it helps our busy customers stay on a haircut schedule they have chosen.

Another popular loyalty program is the First Choice Haircutters student discount card in Canada. We've partnered with a company that offers students 10 to 15 percent savings in a variety of areas, including fashion, dining, and more, every time they show the lifestyle discount card. Students have embraced the option--they can up online and receive information, offers and reminders from participating First Choice Haircutters in their area. We began the program on August 1, 2006 and have seen it grow 33 percent in 5 years.

Another method we're exploring to meet customer needs is targeting through email couponing and social networking. Supercuts is studying Groupon, the "deal-of-the-day" email couponing phenomenon that offers deep discounts to local and national companies. Supercuts is looking into methods of turning the waves of people generated from Groupon's "first trial" effect into loyal, long-term customers.

In addition to Groupon, many of our brands are testing Foursquare, the location-based social networking channels where members "check in" at their location with a phone, find out where friends are, and see offers in and around areas they are shopping. At this time, the brands are determining the best way to target new and loyal customers with this channel.

Finally, when it comes to customer profiling, Regis Franchise learns from listening. Salon stylists, managers, our marketing team, and franchisees are constantly engaged with customers, listening to what they like about the salons (flexible hours and good service as well as accessibility and affordability). By listening to what they like, what they'd like to see change, and what they'd like more of, we're able to continually expand and strengthen our services.

Linda Shaub, Interim Healthcare
Vice President Marketing

In a service franchise it's important to remember that you have two customers: the people who use your services and the people who provide them. Building loyalty with both customers is critical. What builds loyalty? All the studies indicate that it's not so much compensation, although you need to provide competitive wages. What helps build loyalty is when people feel they are being heard and appreciated.

One way to accomplish this is through an internal contest. We launched our own internal "Day in the Life" contest for the network. Each office that chose to participate shot and submitted their own video of a "day" in the life of their employees. As part of the contest materials, we supplied a set of criteria for what the video should portray. These criteria were the key messages that we were using as the platform for our employment branding.

As a guide, we produced and posted a sample three-minute video that included caregivers and client or patient testimonials. We posted the sample on an Interim HealthCare-branded site we called "InterTube," where each participating office uploaded their videos. The proprietary site allowed every office to view and comment on other videos, creating a strong sense of community and fostering a little competitive spirit. The response from the participants was overwhelmingly positive. Some franchisees said that even though they didn't win the contest, the process of creating the video generated a spirit of pride that boosted morale and fostered loyalty.

Greg Allison, Mrs. Fields Famous Brands
Sr. Dir. of Marketing, Consumer Insights, and Product Innovation

We are in the unique position of having two globally recognized brands--TCBY and Mrs. Fields--with customer retention and acquisition strategies designed to leverage consumer preference and accessibility for both brands. Starting with Mrs. Fields, our business originated by developing a loyal customer base with fresh-baked cookies from the oven at our brick-and-mortar stores. With stores serving as the foundation for the brand, we have been able to extend our products to other customer segments through a cross-channel retail strategy that incorporates our online gifting division and consumer packaged goods division.

For example, as the Internet empowered online shopping, we were able to automate our business model into an effective e-commerce catalog play for increased convenience and value to a diverse customer base. With loyal customers across three channels (catalog, packaged goods, and retail), we have been successful in scaling our business and focusing our marketing efforts by channel and the unique needs of each customer segment.

Today, we operate two effective email clubs for Mrs. Fields and TCBY that offer consumers the chance to take advantage of exclusive promotions, special discounts, product facts, and invitations to local events. We create a sense of exclusivity by providing customers with first glances at new products or major product initiatives. Both email clubs enjoy above-average rates by industry standards, with approximately 90 percent of all messages reaching the intended customer. As an added feature to TCBY's loyalty program, stores and franchisees are given the ability to create targeted and inexpensive email messages customized to their specific trading area and customer profile. This turnkey program equips franchisees with additional marketing needed to win in an increasingly competitive and connected marketplace.

TCBY also offers the myTCBY loyalty program, something we are exploring on the Mrs. Fields retail side as well. The myTCBY card can be used as a gift card or as a loyalty card. Customers earn points when their loyalty card is swiped at the register and is redeemable toward a future store purchase as points are accumulated. To receive store credit, customers must activate and register their loyalty card on, which allows us to capture customer data and track purchase behavior.

Whether you have a brick-and-mortar, e-commerce, or mass retail environment (or all three), what works for a store in Salt Lake City may not work as well in Peoria. To address the needs-targeted messaging of our Mrs. Fields retail stores across the country, we developed a robust local-store digital platform. For example, since the Internet is usually the first place people go for information, we felt it was critical to offer our franchisees a localized way to target customers and tailor promotions that consider seasonality, events, and even flavor palettes within a specific region or community. In 2010 we launched a store micro-site program with Mrs. Fields and TCBY franchisees that has been highly received.

Franchisees are empowered not only to manage their sites and leverage them as an extension of the corporate brand, but also as a supporting vehicle for their localized social media efforts, such as with Facebook and Twitter. Micro-site analytics also allow franchisees to customize promotional offers to their market as they identify and better understand the needs and interests of their customers.

Mrs. Fields also saw an opportunity to address the more localized needs of customers who want the convenience and immediacy of ordering online and picking up at a store that same day versus ordering online and A web and mobile platform for ordering items was added to the store micro-site platform, accomplishing the objective of increasing transactions at the store level while making our products more readily accessible to our customers.

One thing we have learned across both brands and the multiple channels of Mrs. Fields is that we will always need a multiple-touch, multiple-reward strategy to maintain relevancy with an increasingly evolving and changing customer base. By continuously measuring, validating, and refining marketing activities with our target audience, our ability to enhance product mix, service platform, and communications enables us to reward our most loyal customers and create new ones every day.

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