Costa Mesa, Calif.

Heather Fletcher is senior content editor with Target Marketing.

Determining the role of search in the multichannel marketing mix involves some simple logic: How do consumers think? To them, search is a tool they use in the decision-making process—it doesn't make decisions for them.

While the Internet is the most important digital channel to adult consumers and e-mail is the way they prefer receiving messages, direct marketers may find more refined insight into their preferences quite useful.

Customer-centricity generally is defined as organizing your business around the needs of your customers. Clearly, there’s a lot of room for interpretation here, but most database marketing consultants point to Best Buy’s 2005 stores overhaul as the shining example of what it means to be customer-centric. After studying its customer base and testing the resulting approach in laboratory stores, the consumer electronics chain tailored 100 or more of its stores around the needs of five customer segments it identified as most important to the company’s success. Everything from the store layout to the background music, signage, type of staff hired and exact mix of merchandise is centered around serving these key segments.

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