Laura Gigliotti is DMA’s Director of Communities
New technologies and platforms have made online networking a breeze – but DMA members continue to tell us that nothing beats the value of a face-to-face interaction with industry peers. And that feedback is precisely what brought us to Atlanta, Georgia last week for our second DMA Regional Roundtable event!

DMA Regional Roundtables are half-day learning and networking events that take place in big cities across the country. Hosted by various member companies, they feature keynote presentations, roundtable discussions, case study talks, and networking receptions.

We teamed up with DMA member rDialogue, a customer loyalty and relationship marketing firm based in Atlanta, to put together an exciting afternoon focused on customer engagement and how top brands are recreating the customer-experience to increase ROI and achieve business results.

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Attendees at DMA’s Atlanta Regional Roundtable event on February 23, 2016

How PGA Tour Superstore is Recreating the Customer Experience
The afternoon kicked-off with a Keynote presentation delivered by Matt Corey, Chief Marketing Officer at PGA Tour Superstore. Corey believes the topic of inspiring and engaging customers is one of the most important discussions marketing leaders need to be having, and he spoke all about how the Superstore distinguishes itself and stands out amongst the competition.

“We differentiate based on the experience we offer our customers,” he told us. “We’re dedicated to creating the right environment where people want to spend their time. People visit us on their lunch hour to use the putting green, they come in with their families on the weekends… people just love to come in and hang out with us.”

How do they create a positive experience for everyone who walks through their doors? It’s all about the people they hire, says Corey. “Our people are the brand, and we invest heavily in them. Retail is all about relationships; it’s about the people who inspire you every day.”

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Matt Corey, Chief Marketing Officer at PGA Tour Superstore, talks about recreating the customer experience

Corey spoke at length about the three-day training program they’ve put in place for the top performing PGA Tour Superstore associates. Every January, top associates from every store nationwide head down to Florida to test out new equipment and receive extensive training on new products. “We do this in January because we want our staff to have this knowledge ahead of the season; we want them to understand the new products before they hit shelves so they can offer assistance to customers in store. And we want to get them pumped up…we want to ensure that everyone is excited and inspired to come to work and to help golfers (and tennis players) play better.”

Corey also spoke about the importance of an integrated marketing approach that combines both print and digital channels. “A top priority of ours in 2016 is to create a seamless experience for customers no matter where they shop with in-store pickup, leveraging our stores to ship products, and many other true omnichannel efforts,” he said.

Corey wrapped up with three important lessons that all marketers can apply in order to create a more pleasant experience for customers:

  1. Listen and Ask – Listen to your customers and ask them questions. Discover why they are visiting your site, what they like about your stores, why the shop you versus the competition, what they believe the most important attributes of your brand are, and many other key issues. Learn everything you can about your customers because the more you know about them, the better you can serve them.
  2. Emotionally Connect – Make someone smile or laugh. Inspire them no matter what you are selling. Make them want to come into your environment. Who wants a one-time transactional relationship with a brand? Give them a reason to keep coming back. That experience starts and ends with people – the people on our floor that represent our brand every day.
  3. Have fun! – Most importantly, have fun. Golf used to be considered stodgy and old…but that is changing thanks to a new generation of golfers and exciting marketing campaigns. Create compelling campaigns and reward customers for engaging with your brand on social. When people are excited to share experiences with your brand, it’s a lot of fun.

A Customer-Centric Approach for New Business Growth—A Merial Case Study
Matt Garrett, Executive Vice President of Strategy & Implementation at rDialogue, also spoke about the importance of a customer-centric approach for new business growth. Presenting a case study with client Merial, a market leader in the animal health industry, Garrett showed us the power of a marketing approach that puts the customer – not the product—at the center.

“Merial is the animal health division of Sanofi, employing over 6,500 people in 150 countries worldwide,” Garrett explained. With 13 research facilities and 18 manufacturing plants, Merial markets to over 30,000 veterinary clinics in the United States alone. For any dog lovers, you may be familiar with their leading product in flea/tick prevention, Frontline Plus.

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Matt Garrett, Executive Vice President of Strategy & Implementation at rDialogue, spoke about the importance of a customer-centric approach for new business growth.

Merial’s marketing efforts are mostly B2B in nature, with the sales team acting as the primary contact for each veterinary clinic. Partnerships with local market shelters and humane societies with a variety of B2C communications and services also exist. But “marketing dynamics and product positioning were presenting challenges for the animal health company, and competition was fierce in the marketplace since Frontline came off patent in 2011,” Garrett told us. The solution for Merial? Shift to a customer-centric approach using the following steps:

  1. Product Segmentation – organize the customer around products
    • Develop product level segmentation solutions
    • Consolidate clinic transactional data, marketing and sales activity, and promotional engagement
    • Rank order of the clinics based on value

This information allowed Merial to establish detailed segment profiles by product to isolate product penetration and averages, sales and marketing effectiveness, and cross-product relationships.

  1. Customer Segmentation – define customers by their overall brand value
    • Develop a customer segment solution
    • Consolidate clinic transactional data, marketing and sales activity, promotional engagement, customer care activity, rebates and coupons
    • Rank order of the clinics based on value

This information allowed Merial to establish detailed segment recommendations by customer group such as cross-sell opportunities, effectiveness of promotions and marketing materials, at-risk clinics, and management paths for customers.

A customer focus like the one outlined above has allowed Merial to deepen relationships with its best customers, align resources to maximize its investments, and ensure new products and programs are successful at launch.

So where will Merial go next? The company is focused on expanding segmentation work in order to gain an even better understanding and evaluation of customers. They’re considering new data sources in order to measure clinic capacity, and also integrating new technologies to ensure more effective communications.

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Attendees discuss the challenges and opportunities facing marketers today at DMA’s Regional Roundtable in Atlanta, Georgia on February 23, 2016

As you can see, so many great insights were shared at our Regional Roundtable in Atlanta, Georgia last week. A big thank you to our sponsor, RDialouge, and both Merial and PGA Tour Supertstore for sharing their stories and tips for success.

Will we catch you at our next event in Denver, Colorado on April 28th? We hope so! You can email me at lgigliotti@the-dma.org with any questions.

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