“The Parable Group realized that the long-term success of its data-driven vision was predicated on having rock-solid credibility with the store owners,” says Wheaton. “[They] also understood that a handful of [poorly] executed promotional selections would do great damage to this credibility.”
The Process: According to Lundie, the marketing database, as it existed, was completely scrapped. She explains, “We undertook a seven-step, ground-floor effort:
1. We developed an understanding of the data issues.
2. We understood the business rules from scratch.
3. We built database tables and corresponding rules to support improved customer selection.
4. We tested, tried and then retried the business rules.
5. We developed a statistics-based predictive model of customer behavior, and employed it for mailings and tests.
6. We integrated list hygiene services.
7. We developed national inventory reports.”
Part of the process, however, was to standardize the partner stores’ data-reporting. “You’ve got to roll your sleeves up and do every one of those stores individually,” explains Wheaton. “You’ve got to go field by field and look at where the issues are.”
Outcome: “To get the whole thing straightened out,” says Wheaton, “they made the commitment to take the whole thing in house. They developed service bureau capabilities. They went in and did the staffing. That’s not an easy thing.”
Finally confident in the accuracy of its data, “we [now] spend more time using the data than determining if it’s accurate,” says Lundie.
This allows The Parable Group to fulfill the promises it made to its member stores.
Says Lundie: “First, we can predict with confidence a customer’s future purchase behavior in response to a promotion and then accurately measure that behavior. Second, we can process mailing lists through all stages of hygiene, de-duplication and change-of-address processing. Third, we can use national data to help local stores improve product selection.”